Monday, April 20, 2015

Hit the Road, Jack

Cardigan: c/o Chadwicks (on sale!); Top: LOFT; Jeans: Gap; Flats: c/o Rockport

What struck me most about our vacation to Hawaii was how entirely happy I felt. I know that's a side effect of being away from obligations, bills, yowling cats, and the dreary every day grind, but I felt like the happiness radiated beyond "fun in the sun" and was instead infecting me with a positivity that ran deeper. I didn't feel as worried as I usually do, I felt like I had a more forgiving and upbeat outlook, and I wasn't constantly complaining. Ben had the same experience - all of a sudden, all of the constant complaints and stresses of medical school were gone. It didn't exist - some far off something that he once did but that was 2,500 miles out of sight.

Perhaps it's worth it to preface this with the confession that we'd been having a tough go of things before the trip. Upcoming step 1 (the first step of the board exams that determine your residency match in fourth year) are coming up in June for Ben. Those exams are laden with so much stress, as not doing well on them has tangible consequences (if you want to get a competitive residency and score poorly on step 1, your chances are shot). Ben also spends his time with other medical students mired in the same intense and stressful mindset, and when they all sit together in a close room, it's like a mixing pot of negativity. I've been going through something very similar at work and while I won't go deeper into it, I know you all probably understand that misery loves company and negative people like to rehash, complain, and share their own unhappiness in hopes of finding a release for it.

Coming back was a rough transition process, and I think that was mostly due to how happy we'd been in Hawaii. Yes there were Mai Tais, pineapples, and full days with no work or school, but there was also such a happy undercurrent in our lives. Jumping right back into those negative circles of unhappy people and stressful events, threw up right back into the same pot we'd been in before Hawaii. It seemed extremely necessary this weekend to try to nip that in the bud again and get out of town. We took a day trip up to Seattle, stopped by our alma mater, had a french dip at our favorite Tacoma bar, took a walk in some gorgeous gardens on Bainbridge island, had a barbecue with my grandmother, rode an early morning ferry to Seattle, had brunch at Portage Bay with our best friends, tried out some Ballard beer, and drove back to Portland in the 70 degree sunshine, smiling.

It worked again. I feel energized, happy, positive, and ready to continue getting out of town, out of the current circles of unhappy people and situations around me. Ben can't get as far away, but we've made a decision to stop lurking around Portland and drive our car as far as we can go on every single weekend that he has a free day. 


  1. This is a great idea! My husband and I are known to get cabin fever in our little apartment. Sometimes even getting out for an evening at a new coffee shop is enough of a change to make us feel rejuvenated again. I'm also dying to finally visit Seattle, glad your trip there was so wonderful! Cheers :-)

  2. I totally get what you mean. Coming back from stress-free vacations or small getaways is rough, getting back to the day to day grind. But hang in there and take those mini-breaks when you can! On a positive note, that outfit is adorable! I wouldn't have thought about mixing a print and stripes, but I love it!

  3. So important to focus on yourself and to surround yourself with supportive people. Also equally important to give yourself a break and just getaway sometimes.

  4. Good for you (and you look adorable!!). I am in a phase of life that doesn't allow for breaks... but it's all good stuff and I'm very happy to be investing in my kids lives and our family as a whole. One blink and they'll be out of the house... :(

  5. And I just bought the sweater. Love it!

  6. Love the casual mixed prints look! And those Rockport flats are perfect! XO


  7. YES! Definitely always make time for a getaway. It doesn't matter if you can't stay the night, it doesn't even matter if it's not on a weekend and has to be a part of a weekday - when you know you need a positive recharge from the negativity you are feeling, go get that recharge! Of course, the weather has really really been helping the past couple days!

  8. Geoffrey F. NormanApril 20, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    Sorry to hear it's been rough going since coming back from vacation. If you find yourself needing to recharge after a rough spell, and don't have a road trip you can take . . . make a Mai Thai. Projecting is quite cathartic.

  9. i love that sweater but black and white stripes are kind of my kryptonite. and i know what you mean about miserable people being miserable together. it's definitely something that's hard to put a stop to when you just want to find a little peace.

    xo, allie

  10. You are so right! Negativity breeds negativity. I have been working on bringing a positive side to things in my own life in the hopes that positivity will breed positivity. Sometimes, however, it is hard and a quick escape is the only thing that makes sense!

    So jealous you zipped over to Seattle! I will hopefully be making a trip up in June.

    xx Katie
    lovely letters

  11. disqus_Rkq7ktce12April 22, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    Why keep complaining, and especially in such a public manner? You are extremely lucky to have ever experienced Hawaii and your beautiful wedding. Heck, you are extremely lucky to even have been born, let alone have the money to feed yourself, and have people around you who care about you. 99% of the world will never get to have your experience. Try taking the opposite look at things-- treasure your trip and be forever thankful that you were privileged with such a wonderful opportunity, instead of being sad and wanting more. That's the opposite of how you should feel...and it's such an easy mental change to make in your mind ...if you want to.

  12. I'm sorry that this is coming across as complaining - it's not my intent, but I can see that it can come across that way. I absolutely feel fortunate to have all I have in my life, you have no idea how fortunate I feel to be where I am and most importantly, be surrounded by people that I love and that love me. I was attempting to demonstrate how I am turning my own attitude around into a more positive outlook in the post (but looks like I failed!). I think I've been really surrounded by negativity lately (my own, some from external situations in my life, etc.), but am actively working to make that a more positive and peaceful outlook. I'll be more cognizant of how I'm coming across about this subject in the future!


© kelsey malieMaira Gall