I’m fresh back from my annual week-long vacation in “Up North” Michigan where I rent a cabin with my family on Torch Lake. I’ve been renting this same cabin for, by my calculations, 13 consecutive years. I’m pretty sure I started vacationing on Torch Lake when I was six years old, and save for a few summers in the mid-90s, I’m pretty sure I just spent, what could be, my 30th or 31st summer vacationing on Torch Lake.
I still haven’t won the lottery, started a multi-million-dollar company, or figured out some other way to buy a place on Torch Lake, but that’s OK …I love my week, once a year.
My vacations on Torch have filled my brain with countless special memories and have given me some of the best moments of my life. I’ve dragged a (very) pregnant wife up to Torch, twice. I’ve vacationed with a newborn. My cousin Scott became my best-friend up there. I learned to drive a boat. I’ve run from the northern tip of Torch to the southern tip with my brother. I discovered Billy Joel on the radio up there. I learned to water ski. I’ve vacationed with friends, all my cousins, all my aunts and uncles, my brother and sister, and my father and mother. My mother’s ashes have been sprinkled onto Torch Lake. A few times this past week, I swear I could’ve closed my eyes and opened them and seen her sitting in a folding chair in the shade of the birch trees, reading a book, with a drink next to her, held up by one of those tulip topped spikes that you stick in the ground next to your beach chair.
The list could go on and on.
However, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to be melancholy and reflective. Right now, I want to quick share the big lessons I took away from vacation, this year.
1. Last year’s vacation sucked, because I hated the job I had at that time.
2. “Regret” happens and it sucks. I don’t “regret” anything this year, but last year I spent the whole week regretting things. Last year, I was deeply regretting leaving my previous career and job. it consumed me. But luckily, sitting alone and looking at the waters of Torch Lake in 2013 allowed me to make a plan. Maybe my mom’s spirit was speaking to me in 2013 and was telling me to do all the things I was thinking might make my situation better and she couldn’t wait to see me back in 2014. (yes, I truly believe I feel her spirit when I’m on the shores of Torch).
3. If you can have one crazy idea, you can have another. Last year, while at Torch, I got the crazy idea that I’d try and get hired back into radio and into the same company I had left in early 2013.
4. I sleep really, really great on vacation. Is it because I’m not staring at a glowing computer screen and because I watch minimal TV and my bio-rhythms start to function normally?
5. It’s never too late and you’re never (well, rarely) in a situation so bad you can’t fix it.
6. The water in Michigan’s big lakes is still really, really, cold.
7. I have a great wife.
8. My kids still think I’m pretty cool and they like me.
9. Every day I can spend with my family, and every year I can vacation with them, is truly a gift.
10. I can conquer the world (or at least my small part of it).
11. The waters of Torch Lake have healing properties. I healed a cold within 48 hours and without medicine.
12. I”m happy.
So, there you have it. On this night, the first night back from vacation on the eve of going back to work tomorrow, I’m happy and feel like I can do and handle anything.