Stress (April A~Z Challenge)



I’m away from home this week, and through the end of the month, visiting family, taking care of some finances and bookkeeping, and traveling to Florida for a week-long vacation with my sisters. It is wonderful to get away…but travel always comes with some level of tension, too.

First, the packing. I have spent some part of every day over the last two months worrying over what I could pack for this trip. Downstate in Michigan at the end of April can be an entirely different climate than Beaver Island, Michigan. Then there is Florida. Land of bathing suits and shorts and sleeveless dresses. And me with all of my winter’s fat to contend with…you can see where the stress is coming from.

Beyond clothes, which had to be divided between the Florida suitcase and the Michigan suitcase, there are all of the papers I need in order to get my taxes filed. Forms, receipts, bank statements and business records necessitated their own brief case. The computer, another. Because my daughters and I were unable to get together over Christmas, we are planning a late celebration of that holiday. So, gifts had to be wrapped and packed for travel, too.

Reading material is another whole category of anxiety. What books shall I pack? If they are too good, I’ll finish them too quickly and be left without anything to read. What if I don’t like them? Should I start them first, to make sure they’ll hold my attention? To complicate matters, my  eight-year-old electronic reader – which was my back-up source – quit working last week. And, books are heavy, when freight is paid for by the pound!

The dogs are a major source of stress before I leave home. I’m sure they are fine in the kennel. I know all their needs are met. I probably miss them more than they miss me. Still, before I leave them, I am practically overwhelmed by guilt and worry.

Finally, there is the trip itself. Two hundred and fifty miles can seem like a huge distance when I am alone in the car. Especially if the road conditions are not good…or if traffic is heavy…or if I encounter detours…or mechanical problems.

Let me be clear: I love to get away from home. I also think that “stress” is a far over-used word lately. However, when I’m preparing for a trip, there is no word more definitive!

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

10 responses »

  1. Hi Cindy,
    The daily routines we’ve developed to support our creative lives are wonderfully soothing. The danger is that the contrast to days out of those routines can be quite jarring. And when the contrast involves travel for an extended period and for lots of different purposes, no doubt stress is the result.

    I hope that now that you’re on the road, fun with your sisters and daughters, the productive satisfaction of getting your taxes done, and the gradual divestment of weight in your luggage will also have you shedding the stress from your shoulders and having a good time.

  2. “If they are too good, I’ll finish them too quickly and be left without anything to read.”
    My husband has run into this problem more than once when we travel, so I found this part quite funny. 🙂 You could purchase a book from a bookstore near where you’re traveling to hold you over.

    • Yes, if I could convince four sisters to help me find a bookstore in the area, and then drive me to it (the rental car had only one driver listed). Though I had two nice bookstores on my list of possible things to do, we had five lists to pick activities from, and never made it. As it was, I finished only one book, and that was even last night, back in Michigan, when I turned the last pages. We kept ourselves very busy! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  3. I hope that your road trip went well and that you have a great time! I actually like long road trips – they give me time to think/process (ahem, drive in right-brain autopilot mode!) and i often download interviews, etc and enjoy listening while driving — -or to listen to new music…

    have fun!

  4. It’s been a weird April to travel, especially to somewhere like Florida. I’m pretty sure I’d have been stressed over what to bring too. I hope you’re having fun and have enough to read!

    • I ended up with too many slacks, and not enough shorts for the weather. I repeat my promise, that when I next go to Florida, I will bring my gauzy sundress and my bathing suit only! I finished the only book I read, in my bed here at Brenda’s house in Michigan, so I had more than enough reading material, too! Thanks for reading, Sara, and for your comments!

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