Re-Entry Blues

We have returned from a brief time in our beloved Door County. Too brief a time. Usually after being away, I am eager, ready to return to home base. Not this time. Perhaps the reason is that Door County is a place where I always feel at home. Or perhaps we weren’t away long enough to feel the tug of home.

Whatever the reason, I am in the midst of re-entry blues.

In the past when I have led retreats of more than a day’s duration, I have offered suggestions to participants about how to prepare for re-entry–even before arriving at the retreat. I ask them to think about what will be helpful when they return home. For me that includes leaving the house clean, for who wants your first home view to be a dirty bathroom or kitchen? I think ahead to what our first meal will be once home–something simple; something that doesn’t require a quick dash to the grocery store. I pay upcoming bills and handle other correspondence and in general, try not to leave a long To Do list that flashes on top of my desk. After all, enough will accumulate while we are gone, and there will be more than one load of laundry to do. The stuff of daily life.

Not only did I do all those tasks, but I also prepared material for my personal writing group and the weekly writing group I lead at church. Both were scheduled to meet the first days after our return, and it eased my mind to know I was ready.

All that was helpful, but I still feel like I am not quite home. My body may be here, but my mind, my heart have been left behind. I can’t quite push myself to move forward beyond the mundane tasks of being home. I thought I would be ready and even eager to begin working on a book proposal, as well as an upcoming adult forum at church, but I don’t feel motivated to take any of those steps. Instead I want to stay in Door County mode–take another long walk schussing leaves, read chapter after chapter in another good book, and enjoy deep conversation over a delicious meal fixed by someone else. I want to drive yet another back road stunned by beauty at every turn.

Ok, I’ve acknowledged to my self–and to you–that I would rather be there than here, but I am here and as my father often said, “That’s the way it is.” So what to do?

First of all, it isn’t as if we have been home for several weeks and I still haven’t done what I say I need to do. No, it has just been a few days. Second, it isn’t as if I have been idle since returning home. I have handled all the basics of life here at home. I fully engaged with the two writing groups, met with clients, communicated with family and friends, went on daily walks, fixed good meals, slept well, and enjoyed reading time in the snug. My husband and I even gave ourselves an extra vacation day and went to a monthly antique sale in a town about 90 miles away.

Maybe I am just being hard on myself. That would not be unusual.

Here’s what I suspect: I needed the time away. More time than what was allotted, so I have unconsciously built more downtime into these first days at home. I know myself well enough that sooner, more probably than later, I will get bored with not doing much of anything and I will be drawn to the next steps waiting for me.

How often have I advised others, “Be gentle with yourself.” I guess that is what I am doing now.

An Invitation: What does being gentle with yourself look like for you? I would love to know.

4 thoughts on “Re-Entry Blues

  1. Nan,
    It feels good to reconnect with people with a shared past, no matter how brief. Your blog is lovely and gentle in itself.
    My life has many interruptions or as I would rather call them “divine appointments”.
    I am always inclined (programmed?) to say “yes”; and I love saying “yes”.
    There are times, however, for my best interest and well-being I should say “no”. I am gentle with myself when I say “no”, knowing it is in my best interest AND I don’t feel guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to get back into the swing of normal, everyday life after being away. Give yourself permission to just “be” and if certain things don’t get done, that’s OK.

    We went to Door County for our honeymoon back in 1984 and unfortunately, haven’t been back since! We do want to get back there someday.

    Have a good weekend!


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