I’m not doing it this year. I’m tired of the same old routine. Almost every December since I’ve had kids it’s gone something like this: a few days before New Years, I decide I need a vacation because I’m exhausted at year’s end. Like many of you, I’ve been entertaining family, shopping and wrapping like a mad woman for Christmas, working even though I’m on “vacation,” and eating every food group available so nothing, nada, not even that seven-layer caramel cake sounds good any more. How is that possible? I vow to hop on Expedia at midnight and book a quick getaway to decompress, recharge and spend 48 hours focusing on me (and finding some healthy eats), but I either feel guilty or fall asleep, so it never happens. Instead, I hurriedly jot down some New Year’s resolutions while I drink my coffee, make scrambled eggs, feed my kids and cats, and vacuum at the same time. The new year comes and goes without much fanfare or thought about what possibilities it holds, I go to the gym for two weeks like everyone else, and then I stop. And I end up sitting around in January feeling tired, unmotivated and uninspired. Uggh. Who wants that? What’s the saying: “If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results.” So true. So, I’m making a vow this year to start the year off with at least 48-hours of sunshine therapy. I’m going either on a “me-cation” with just me, or a “we-cation” with my spouse. No fighting over or taking days to decide on the location. I’m going to my happy place: the beach. It’s going to be a fun experiment to see what impact it has on my year. I can already tell you that it’s the only place in the world to me that’s calming, detoxifying and centering where you feel urges to run free, splash, play again and then DO NOTHING. I cannot remember the last time I DID NOTHING and spend time with myself, with the world aglow under a magnificent sunset amidst emerald green waters and white beaches. I’m betting I’ll have time to sit back, shut my eyes and really think about the new year instead of simply vowing to Swiffer under the bed once a month instead of every six (which certainly has some kind of merit). We live in such a fast-paced world today; it’s a rare treat to have time to think on a more sophisticated level. And, if we want to grow as adults, we certainly need that. It’s something I crave… I don’t want to become some robot with unfulfilled, boring yearly promises. What beach is going to make me pause, allow me to soak in some Vitamin D and make the magic happen for me? My vote is always for Pensacola Beach. Pensacola Beach is a little island paradise that used to be a well-kept secret among beach connesouiers and Gulf Coast travelers. But, word has spread of its beauty and serenity, and this year the Gulf Islands National Seashore – which includes Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key - was rated Florida’s Best Beach¸ not surprisingly. The summer crowds that have been flocking to some of the whitest sands around are definitely waning in the winter, meaning you can have a beautiful stretch of award-winning beach all to yourself to do whatever you please, including absolutely NOTHING. Here’s what I’m planning on accomplishing: Day 1
  • Sip a skinny berry smoothie
  • Listen to the waves hit the shore as I lie under an umbrella and cushioned chaise lounge at the Portofino Island Resort
  • Read a book as I overlook an infinity pool
  • Eat succulent oysters, blackened grouper and southern greens at the Grand Marlin for dinner (and likely throw in a bottle of Cakebread)
  • Maybe wash my face; maybe not
Day 2
  • Watch the sunrise over the peaceful sound during an early morning walk
  • Daydream about life while sticking my toes in the sand
  • Nap by the infinity pool
  • Read again and relish that it’s something other than “Elmo Goes Potty”
  • Go to dinner in my bathing suit, poolside at H2O and savor the taste of fresh sushi, sashimi and sake.
  • Count my blessings under the night stars that light up the ocean and focus on the future
  • Maybe brush my hair; maybe not

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Note: You’ll see no mention of the following - do five loads of laundry; empty the dishwasher; sweep the floor; fold clothes; attempt to work out at the gym and leave early; procrastinate; carpool to soccer practice; Swiffer under the bed; weed the flower beds; or prepare snack for the class party. Alleluia! Doesn’t a break from all that we do sound so heavenly? You’re welcome to join me — just don’t talk to me if you do. I’m going to be too busy relaxing, in my own zone, relishing every ounce of Vitamin D soaking into my pores, and focusing on the beginnings of a fulfilling new year.