OPINION — You know what they say about payback? Well, coming back to real life after a vacation ain’t no picnic either. In fact, consider this notice of my official campaign to add “post-vacation re-entry” to payback’s elite status. Because it deserves it – and we all know it.
First, there’s the laundry. It doesn’t matter how much you did before the trip or how much you did while you were away, laundry has a multiplying superpower second only to Gremlins.
Even if you think you only have a small amount of “dirties,” somehow most of your clothing will still make it into the wash after smell tests reveal they picked up some unusual odor here or there — that’s assuming you actually have any detergent left after your exhaustive pre-trip efforts to launder your entire wardrobe.
Then, of course, you have to contend with the question of food. Just when you could really use a good, home-cooked meal, a piece of fresh fruit or anything you don’t have to go somewhere else to consume or that doesn’t come in an airplane-size snack bag, your fridge is completely empty. Or its contents are spoiled.
I’ve long believed that someone could make a killing with a service that stocks your fridge the night before you return home. Maybe that already exists but probably only if you live in New York or Chicago.
Next is the actual payback most of us experience when returning home. This payback can come in the form of your children, your work or both. Work doesn’t need much explanation. It’s work. And it piles up when you’re not there.
Payback from your kids is worse. If you took your kids with you, they’ll be tired and out of sorts for several days. If you left your children behind, you may have a special kind of re-entry awesomeness waiting for you.
Younger children can’t always articulate what’s going on but let me tell you this: They are mad at you for leaving them behind (even if they were perfectly cared for while you were away because how dare you do anything fun without them!); and they are going to make you pay for it.
Every errand, every seat belt buckling in the car, every bedtime for the next (fill in the blank for double the time you were away) is going to be your own little piece of hell. Don’t get me wrong, it will be cute and adorable hell, but hell nonetheless.
Finally, “this again?” syndrome sets in. You may not have heard it called that before, but I suspect you know what I mean. It’s that feeling that happens when you get back to real life and real obligations. It’s OK to admit it; after the planning, anticipation and the experiences of vacation, real life can drag.
Before the trip, you don’t realize how much self-talk you do about the fun that awaits you. It helps you get through that long commute home, the boring meeting or the epic homework battle with your middle-schooler.
And after the trip, that promise feels gone.
But it’s not. There is always a new adventure, a new opportunity, another spot on your bucket list.
Even better, there are the memories and experiences you already have in the bag. Those are what payback is paying for – and they are totally worth it.
Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.
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