Sometimes leaving is the worst part. Does anyone else get the last-day-of-vacation blues (more here). I surely do. After a lovey few days in Newport, Rhode Island, I had a rough time returning home. As this trip is my only experience with the city, I associate Newport in my mind with sunny days and good times. Home in Boston, while it is dear to me, feels like a mixed bag of nuts compared to my brief getaway.
The “last-day-of-vacation” and “Sunday” blues are real phenomena that describe the feeling of dread associated with the return to the monotony and stress of day-to-day work life. On my journey back from Newport, I felt as if I were being forcibly ripped from the reality that I had only just gotten a taste of. The hotel was beautiful and centrally located, the air was cold but the skies were clear, and the seafood was abundant and fresh. Newport is what vacations are made of. In my mind, just one more day would have been enough to quench my thirst for this city.
I believe there is some credence to the saying “all’s well that end’s well.” We perceive experiences better overall when they end on a good note. I ended my trip to Newport on a bad note. The morning that we were due to depart, I woke up feeling cranky after a restless night. Instead of getting out of bed immediately and starting the day, I rolled around, stewed in my disappointment, and scrolled mindlessly on my phone. After about a half hour, I became annoyed at myself for letting my negative thoughts fester, so I decided to start the day productively with exercise at the gym. I crept down the hotel hallways in the early hours and tried to access the fitness center with my keycard. Although the small room was open to guests 24/7, my keycard would not grant me entry into the guarded space. After several unproductive wacks of my card to the door handle, I gave up and called the front desk. Someone answered immediately and informed me that the door was on the fritz and the engineers would not arrive to fix it until well after 7am. I looked down at my watch, it was 6:25am. Frustrated, I knew that I could not wait potentially over an hour to use the gym—I didn’t have all morning.
In a worse mood, I returned to the hotel room, changed out of my workout clothes, and simmered for several minutes as I decided my next moves. When I do not get my way, it is extremely hard for me to settle on a second course of action. I came up with three options about what to do next a.) go to a café and work on my laptop or read, b.) go for a long walk, or c.) sit in the dark hotel room and wait to leave. I was stuck between a. and b.. Unable, to make up my mind, I decided to bring my laptop out with me just in case. Being outside in the fresh air made me want to go on a long walk. Unfortunately, I had squandered so much time dithering that I did not have time to take a long walk.
At this point, it made the most sense to me that I should go to a cafe rather than walk around aimlessly with my bulky laptop slung over my shoulder. I had two cafes in mind, ‘Starbucks’ and a local chain called ‘Empire Tea & Coffee.’ I was torn between the two because I enjoyed the local chain but I also had a gift card to Starbucks. The frugal side of me won out and I made a sharp turn towards Starbucks. I bought a cup of herbal tea and a bottle of water. As soon as I sat down and plugged in my laptop, I knew that I did not really want to be there. It was as if I needed to feel the “badness” of my Starbucks decision to know what I really wanted. Because I wanted to feel like I had gotten my money’s worth, I typed out a single email and drank half of my tea, before I left to walk to Empire Tea & Coffee. At café number 2, I ordered a tea latte that did not taste as sweet as it did in my imagination. My short stay at this café was, perhaps, less satisfying as the clock was quickly ticking before my eyes signally my imminent departure. As I walked back to the hotel, the cool fresh air and the blue skies made me feel foolish for choosing two mediocre café visits over a refreshing walk.
In summary, I ruined myself that morning:
• I woke up on the wrong side of the bed,
• became frustrated when I could not access the gym,
• spent too much time and mental energy internally complaining instead of thinking about how to move forward,
• chose to go to Starbucks when I preferred Empire,
• spent too much time sitting at Starbucks,
• did not enjoy my latte at Empire,
• walked back to the hotel feeling foolish and sad that I had to return home.
Sometimes, I have a garbage mind. Something did not go my way and I let the feelings of disappointment poison my emotions. Instead of taking the closed gym as an opportunity to have an unexpected adventure, I treated it as a hinderance to my happiness. I could have had a good last day despite, but I let my emotions get the better of me and ruined the experience for myself. I very much enjoyed Newport and won’t let the last day mar my memories. I will let this post be a reminder to myself that it is not worth it to get upset over silly things (even if they do not feel so silly at the time).
Dear Reader, I wish you all happy travel, happy days, and enjoyable alternatives if things do not go the way that you planned. Either way, I hope things go well for you.