I recently spent a week in the beach town of Negril on the West End of Jamaica. The vacation was all that I desired. The weather was sunny and warm, allowing me to spend lots of time lying out on the beach. I also was able to eat lots of yummy food and explore some of the countryside. But more than anything, I rested. I read my books, sat out in the hammock for hours, and napped every day. The trip was everything I had wanted for my winter escape.
I believe the essential function of a vacation is to provide a period of rest from the challenges and demands of everyday life. Whether it’s a weekend trip to New York to see friends, a yoga retreat in the woods of southern Virginia, or a week at a Caribbean beach resort, I look forward to the opportunity to slow down, rest, relax and nurture my spirit. I find that my thoughts are clearer when I am less busy. When I don’t have to rush here and there, when my agenda is not filled with back-to-back activities, when I experience the pause, I uncover truths that evade me when I’m bogged down by life. After having one of these epiphanies, I then decide what to do with it. Usually, I choose to follow it, and spend the next several months trying to integrate it into my life. Here are some examples:
2008, Honduras: I love to travel, and need to take at least one trip abroad a year. That means, I need to make it a priority in my budget and start saving.
2009, Dominican Republic: I hate living in New York. I moved there in 2006 to be closer to family and long-time friends after my divorce. I loved being able to see my closest friends from college and grad school on a regular basis, and I met a wonderful new group of people with whom I spent many a weekend. Family gatherings once again became a mainstay in my life. But I HATED living and working in The City—the hustle, the noise, the expense. I had always wanted to live in DC. Maybe now was the time to move.
2009, Hawaii: It’s important to know your travel style and choose compatible companions. If you are a frugalista, don’t travel with a spendthrift. Or if you prefer spending your time lying on the beach, you might not want to travel with someone who seeks adventure and wants to explore something new every day.
2014, DR (again): People can’t read my thoughts. If I have an emotional need, I have to communicate it to those around me. Otherwise they are left to try to figure out the meaning behind my words and actions, and their conclusions are often incorrect.
So, what was the big revelation last week when I was in Jamaica?
I realized that I had set myself up for failure with how I launched my businesses last fall. I started Moore Education, because I wanted flexibility in my schedule. I really wanted to launch Serenity Place DC, but it would be difficult if I had a full-time job. I also knew that it wouldn’t be profitable for some time, and needed some source of income for the meantime. The education consulting was supposed to finance my living expenses, so I could focus on starting and growing a yoga studio.
Here’s the problem: Running an education consulting business creates its own work if it is to function effectively. I have to create invoices to get paid, manage the business expenses, invest time in nurturing relationships with my clients, and meet the expectations of my lead contractor. Running Moore Education is a lot of work. Although I don’t have to work 9-to-5 five days a week, I still have to put in 30-40 hours most weeks. In reality, I’m still working full-time. I just have more say over when in my schedule the work gets done.
As for Serenity Place DC, I created a business which needed me to function. I was responsible for recruiting and hiring the instructors and front desk staff, managing the websites, marketing our services, and handing the finances among other things. I had to do it all, or at least I thought I did, because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone to help me—a common challenge for new businesses. But that’s a lot of work. On average, I put in 20-30 hours a week during the studio’s first few months of operation. Between the two businesses, I was working 50-70 hours a week.
With those work demands, I had far less time for myself than I had thought. I still struggled to make time to practice yoga and exercise. It was difficult scheduling doctors’ appointments or getting in my massage and chiropractic treatments. I had been anticipating more flexibility in my schedule with being my own boss. But the reality is that I work more and have less freedom than I did before. It is harder and harder to get away and spend the time I need in quiet contemplation, so that I can have those important life revelations. If I don’t perform a task that one of the businesses requires, it simply won’t get done.
In February, I found someone to help with some of the administrative work. That has been a huge improvement. But it isn’t enough, especially at Serenity Place DC. Over the next few months, I am going to rethink the way that I do everything with both the education consulting and yoga studio. I love them both and want them to be successful. But I also want to have a life, and need others to come carry some of the load. I haven’t yet figured out what that will look like, but know it is essential. I cannot keep going down my current road.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.