What I Did Learned on My Summer Vacation
What I Did Learned on My Summer Vacation
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October 2018. I spent this past summer in Evergreen, Colorado, where our house lives. (Not where we live, mind you, just our house. At least for now.)
When we purchased the property, we fully intended to live in it. It’s at a more reasonable 8,000 feet instead of our previous 9,800, closer to Denver and halfway in between our old haunt in Conifer and downtown Evergreen.
It’s a great property with all the amenities we wanted -- and then some! We moved in, unpacked and just barely got settled in before Dave’s work took us to Sarasota, Florida. I quickly transitioned the house from our home to a vacation rental property and then bam! I high-tailed it to Florida with our fur babies this past March.
With summers being as they are in Florida, it seemed like a perfect time for me to spend some time back in Colorado, to tie up some loose ends and visit with friends and family while escaping the heat
Like they say, there’s a seed under every turd, [I don’t know, it sounded funny in my head], so before I knew it:
I was knighted as an Airbnb Superhost.
Read all about that here.
I spent June, July and August working around the house, and I also picked up shifts at my old summer job as a tour guide at the ARGO Gold Mill & Tunnel, a National Historic Site in Idaho Springs.
At least that was the plan.
My vision was far more relaxing than reality would be.
Before I even knew it, my game plan was blown to bits. Within two weeks, I played hospice nurse to our beloved dog Winston, I got altitude sickness and we had several unfortunate experiences with Airbnb guests.
Basically, the poop hit the twirling blades.
It wasn’t intentional, but I wound up taking the summer off from the blog, it was a bit of a mental health break. (Pun intended.)
It’s a bit mortifying to admit, but I am still learning about life after a diagnosis of Adult ADD and post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) in 2015. This summer I suffered some setbacks on my journey of recovery.
I experienced a flashback, something most PTSDers try to avoid. In your mind, it feels like you’re back in that traumatic place, complete with all the physical symptoms of fear and anxiety that you felt when the trauma originally occurred. Needless to say, it’s not much fun.
When you experience a flashback, your brain is signaling danger and automatically activating your fight-or-flight system. This is why during a flashback, people may experience physical symptoms such as excessive sweating, elevated blood pressure or panic attacks.
To me it feels like a having a loud security alarm, complete with loud noise and flashing lights, inside your head.
Coupled with a debilitating case of altitude sickness, and I was down for the count.
I was too weak to perform the physical demands of leading tours and I spent almost a week recovering from exhaustion, muscle cramps and low sodium levels.
Since I had spent three months in Florida, my body had acclimated to sea-level.
I felt like I was moving in slow motion, running in mud while trying to manage multiple crises that arose because of my own ineffectiveness.
Money quickly became a concern, because of lost income from my leading tours, coupled with lost Airbnb guest revenue. We had to cancel three reservations which isn’t great for the guests, and we lost over $1,000 in revenue.
In my mind, we were going down.
I felt like we were circling the drain, just teetering on the edge of losing everything we had worked so hard to attain.
I worried about money, I suffered panic attacks and severe anxiety all summer long.
I felt just as overwhelmed and helpless as I did in the years following 2008, when the real estate and stock markets crashed due to the Great Recession.
During this difficult time in my life, I adopted a critical view of myself. I felt responsible for everything that happened and I started beating myself up. I needed to forgive myself.
If I can’t provide myself a safe place to fall, then how can I expect others to?
My life is still very much a work-in-progress, after a diagnosis of PTSD and Adult ADD at the age of 53. In many ways I am starting over, evaluating old behaviors to determine what to pitch moving forward. I have established new goals, and I am well on my way to achieving them. But I am human and I will mess up again.
The good news is, I now feel like I’m finally starting to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I’m building a whole slew of new approaches to my life, step-by-step.
So, I vow to cut myself more slack in the future. Tough lessons, but lessons learned.
Here’s my list of ‘Summer Lessons of 2018’:
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. Maintain a basic schedule. If I miss yoga or meditation for more than a few days in a row, my anxiety issues start to take over. (Note: Favorite App for meditation - Headspace).
4. Slow down. Running in circles with arms flailing in the air never helped anyone with anything.
5. Finally and most importantly, Home is Where Your Heart is.
And that’s with Dave, my loving husband. My home is wherever you are. I love you more than anything, babe.
Life comes at you fast. That’s what it does.
And let me be clear, I still get stung by old Margiebehaviors all the time. But now, I actively seek alternative approaches so that my standard operating procedures actually make sense.
Written by: Margie Abernethy 10/22/18