Good stress is “warm chocolate melt”

?On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.?

?Erma Bombeck

Ahhh, vacation: sweet moments of suspended reality worthy of pinched pennies and dreams.

Psychology types say there are two kinds of stress: good stress and bad stress.

Good stressors might be work, kids, holidays and family vacations. Bad stressors may be things like work, kids, holidays and family vacations.

OK, bad examples.

I think, though, that stressors can tie in with each other. Work stress leads to home stress leads to financial stress leads to holiday stress leads to…and so on.

If that?s the case, the only alternative is to focus on something that will clear your mind.

Something like vacation.

Unfortunately, things worth having don?t always come easy. Preparing for time off can be one of those things.

We are programmed to complete a hundred tasks every day without batting an eye and they only become apparent when they need to be stopped or rearranged to accommodate a vacation.

That?s stressful enough.

But I have weathered the perfect storm of stressors: planning a vacation away from your immediate family.

On paper, it might sound pretty nice. Thousands of miles away on an all-girls trip?

?Oh, yeah!? you think.

Eventually, yes. But it?s not easy to go so far for so long. In the end, I had to hold my breath and drive away, trusting that the day to day at home would go on without me.

It did.

And at this moment, I am on that stomach-churning (shout out to Tums), paranoia-inducing (no thanks to seeing ?Titanic? too many times), guilt-ridden (courtesy of two small children) dream excursion at sea.

It took months to plan our mom/sisters trip to Mexico. The weeks of scheduling, paychecks of saving and midnight hours of panicking have all melted into this Caribbean cruise, which will wrap up for us tomorrow.

Now, as we sail back and prepare for reentry into the real world, I have to reprogram myself to play nice with clocks and calendars again.

But for tonight, only the next dining room meal is penciled into my non-existent schedule and I?m not one to miss an appointment when a dessert menu listing ?warm chocolate melt? is involved.

So I am finishing up this report, along with my piece of triple-layer fudge cake (just a little pre-meal warmup), from my stateroom window overlooking a horizon of blue sea, miles from soil and reality.

Indulge me, I may never get to do this again. And I hope that at least once, you get to.

I?m happy to say that while I desperately missed my family, the Caribbean sun melted away the stress of planning this trip, leaving the creamy (and more often that not, chocolate) center of a perfect island escape.


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