Sarah Lysne: The joy of taking a vacation from your problems

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 2, 2021

Do you remember that wonderful movie “What About Bob?” In the movie, Bob, played by Bill Murray, is a patient of his psychiatrist, played by Richard Dreyfuss. The movie starts with Dreyfuss telling Bob that he will be taking his annual family vacation and he won’t be able to meet with Bob for a week.

Bob is terrified of this thought and doesn’t know how he will function. Dreyfuss tells Bob that he can take a vacation from his problems. Bob decides to try this, but the story unfolds as Bob ends up following Dreyfuss and his family to their vacation cabin. It is a very funny movie, but I like the idea of taking a vacation from our problems. I don’t necessarily mean a destination vacation, but maybe just a mental break from constantly consciously or subconsciously trying to figure out how to make our problems go away.

Here are a few things that I have started to do when I need to distract my thinking from my ALS:

• I am not an expert at artwork or painting, but I love to try new things. I enjoy working with many colors and glitter. I know glitter is messy, but I like creating artwork with lots of sparkle and glitter. It makes me happy.

• I enjoy watching old movies with stars like Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant. These movies take us back to a different era, and I find it relaxing. It is the best way for me to totally take a break from reality.

• One of my favorite places to visit is the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. I love looking at every aspect of nature, every flower, every animal, every tree. If we consciously look at every single object along the path, we will see beauty everywhere.

• Maybe it isn’t your regular routine to attend a church or a faith community, but you might take a vacation from your problems by occasionally enjoying a sermon or music at a particular church. I remember going to church as a teenager and the minister said, “I don’t even care if you are listening to my sermon because maybe you just need this time, in this place to think.” I thought that was a very wise suggestion for him to make.

• You might also take a vacation from your problems by calling a friend. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. You don’t have to solve their problems, but just letting them hear your cheerful voice and sharing a laugh with them might really help you focus on someone else besides yourself.

My cousin’s grandma was a fun person. In the winter she would go out into her backyard and make snow angels. At the time, she was in her 80s. I always admired her for this. So, one day when my kids were in school, I went out into our backyard and fell onto the ground and made a snow angel. As I looked up into the sky, at the radiant sun, I felt fully alive. It was a wonderful experience. If you are unable to fall onto the ground, you can wait until we have a fresh snowfall and march in the backyard with your boots on and make a giant heart with your footprints. When you go into the house, you can look out the window to admire your work. This can be your way of sending love to the world from your own backyard and it will allow you a few moments to take a vacation from your problems as you focus on this fun childlike gesture.

I hope you have a delightful vacation.