Are you the kind of person that needs something to look forward to? I am.
Every year, after the holidays, I have a dip. January hits, and the lights come down along with my mood. I love Christmas and all the festivities. I love decorating, family time, and all the celebration leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth. I look forward to it every year. Then New Year’s comes. I love it. Then, after the holiday’s pass, life returns to normal and all the excitement is gone and I feel sad. Except for last year.
Last year, at this time when the lights came down, I had something to look forward to. Steve and I were planning a trip to Spain and Portugal at the end of February. As it approached, my excitement was off the charts. I was planning the trip, I was buying clothing to wear on our special trip, I was exercising and losing weight. I was giddy about this honeymoon experience with my husband of 24 years.After that trip, I had my birthday to look forward to where I saw some other friends who turned 50 with me.Then I had our summer century bike ride to look forward to, and then our “Great Grace Road trip to Nashville” to look forward to…and so on and so on. Then we moved into a new house (which wasn’t planned, but very exciting).
I went into 2015 with a goal to make it an epic year. It was my 50th year of life, and I didn’t want it to be normal or boring. I spent my year living with excitement, filled with amazing experiences.
But how is one supposed to follow a year like that? How do you keep up with yourself when you are the Jones’?
This year, I don’t have that epic trip to Spain to look forward to. We don’t have any family vacations to exotic locations. In fact, we are on a trimmed budget with a child in college (who is using our frequent flyer miles to fly back and forth from Nashville), another child getting married and another planning for college in a couple of years.
I do of course have many trips planned with my job at Compassion. January is Burkina Faso (which will be amazing), February is Tanzania and Kenya, April to Haiti, and so on. Epic right? When your work is travel it is amazing, however, travel isn’t always glamorous. It most often means being away from family, and jet-lag, long hours on a plane, and unexpected situations that can lead to stress. Yes, the amazing experiences are there, but I often long to share it with the people I love the most. Though I love the travel, I miss home in the midst.So I ask myself, how does one deal with life when the excitement is gone or the vacation is over, the epic year has ended, the holidays end, the main event is over?
As I reflect back on 2015, I have learned a valuable lesson. You have to take time to create, plan and make epic moments in life. You have to plan special events with your family and friends. If you don’t schedule in those special moments with your loved ones, chances are, you will get too busy.
I have also learned its not about what you can or can’t afford. Yes, this year was full of spectacular experiences for us, which cost us some money. Yes, having more resources allows for more choices in activities. However, some of my favorite moments this year were on a budget and near home. Just because these experiences didn’t involve global travel, didn’t make them any less important or valuable. In fact, sometimes it’s nice to have a grand experience and come back home to your own bed at the end of the day.
To sum it all up, 2015 was indeed an epic year full of fantastic fun and amazing events. However, 2016 doesn’t have to be less, it just will be different. I am drawing up my plans now and I am excited about this next year. Super excited.
Here are some of my favorite things to do near home that don’t require much budget. This year, I am looking forward to more of these kinds of experiences. Especially with the people I love the most.
What are your plans for 2016?
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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