Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Familiar ways

There are a lot of ingredients to a good marriage. One that is frequently overlooked (except in wedding movies) is in-law compatibility. I was raised in a family that didn't take kindly to roughing it. I've never spent a night in a tent. And if I had married into a family of rugged outdoorspeople, shared vacations would be considerably more difficult than they are.

Instead, fortuitously, Noel's family likes a little good life with their nature. Their idea of relaxation is an afternoon with a complicated board game or a jigsaw puzzle rather than outdoor exertion. Not that they are averse to a stroll through the woods or a campfire; just that it's not their raison d'etre.

So vacations like the one I'm on now are low-stress for me. I don't have to gear myself up for unfamiliar adventures. "Familiar" is, in fact, the key word in my ability to relax and enjoy myself. Doing what I did with my family: playing games, reading books, going to the pool, locating and utilizing all available park amenities. I enjoy challenges and doing new things -- but if doing them is being pressed upon me rather than emerging from my choice and sense of adventure, it's stressful. This week is not about any more stress than "when's dinner." And key to that sense of calm is a family atmosphere that wraps me in the familiar.

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