I'm on vacation with my children. We're at the beach and we're staying in a hotel and we're hanging out and just enjoying the time together. And the thing about vacationing in a different town is that you don't know anyone and they don't know you and you get to decide to just go with it and see where the day takes you.

It occurred to me, as I had my oldest daughter take my picture on the first day sitting at breakfast (beach-side. absolutely perfect), that I hadn't done anything to my hair and I hadn't put on any make-up and I had just thrown on a schmata (as my mother used to call it- casual-old-dress for the rest of us) and put on some flip flops and walked downstairs to the restaurant at the hotel. There was no fear of being seen by anyone, there was no fear of being judged by anyone, there was no fear of anything at all. There was just the morning at the beach and the hunger for an early breakfast.

And I looked at the picture and I posted it on Facebook and I labeled it "first morning of vacation." I took another picture as well- of me doing some yoga poses in the water and on the beach while I was in my swimsuit- and I posted those on Facebook too. I didn't think about it, I just did it. I just wanted to share with my friends and my family where I was and what I was doing and how peaceful and happy and content I was feeling. I didn't give a second thought to what I looked like and whether the pictures were good and even if I was caught in the best light. I just wanted to share the feeling of the moment, captured on film.

But now as I look at those photos, I scrutinize whether to keep them up on Facebook. Because maybe they're not the best pictures of me and maybe it's not the best I've ever looked... but then I stopped myself and thought about being on vacation. Because being on vacation means no one judges you, and even if they do, you're not aware and you don't care because you're never going to see these strangers again. Being on vacation means all judgments from others have no bearing on you, have no weight, but the thing I forgot is that all judgments are not suppressed, because we have judgment from ourselves.

This vacation time has me feeling more at ease and more comfortable in my own skin. Not always easy to do. Something I aspire to do. Something I admire in others. Feeling comfortable in my own skin happens more often that it used to- maybe one positive effect of growing older and more accepting- but it doesn't happen all the time and it doesn't always stick. But being on vacation makes it more palpable. Being on vacation makes it more real. Being on vacation makes it possible.

So today I will promise myself this- when I get back to my reality, I will try to be more accepting. I will try to put on my swimsuit and go to my neighborhood pool, just as I have gone to the hotel pool this week: excited to swim, enjoying the warmth, reveling in the time spent with my daughters or my friends or a good book. I will take this acceptance and I will suspend my inner-judgment if even for a minute, and I will believe I am ok, just the way I am. I will understand that it is difficult to accept at times, but it is not impossible. It is possible to be on the beach and in the pool and on vacation and throw your cares to the wind and let go for just a few days. And it is possible to bring that feeling back to your reality. And it's possible to be ok just where you are, but still want to be just a little different tomorrow. It's ok to accept what's in front of you but think about making a change. And it's ok to think through all of this and still keep your pictures posted on Facebook.

After all, this is the life.


  1. Allison,
    Have fun! Enjoy every moment. My take on the beach/swimsuit/no make-up thing is that everybody will look, form an immediate opinion and then move onto the next person on the beach. My opinion matters more than theirs.


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