When I realized what matters most to me. 

Back in March, I went on vacation to Turks and Caicos with my boyfriend. I booked the flight on New Year’s Day because I knew I needed to visit a tropical paradise in the middle of winter. Little did I realize that this vacation would coincide with the biggest storm to hit the East Coast this year: Winter Storm Stella. I mean, how was I supposed to predict a late snow storm in the middle of March, right?

The vacation was from a Saturday through Tuesday and Winter Storm Stella was expected to hit on Monday night. Everything was going fine until I woke up on Monday morning and realized that my flight was probably going to get canceled.

“What’s going to happen if I can’t go to work on Wednesday as expected? I have so many deadlines to meet.”

“What’s going to happen to my cat, will she be okay for another day?”

“What if I can’t get on the next flight out of here if they only have two per day?” 

I panicked and looked through flights leaving that afternoon. There was one scheduled to leave at 1:16pm and I didn’t know what to do. I was sobbing to my boyfriend like I’ve never cried before because on one hand I felt all of my work obligations on my shoulders. I went on vacation to take a break from work, how was it that I was still stressed out? On the other hand, I did not want to cut this vacation short. It’s not every day that I get to visit a Caribbean island, and I felt that I did not experience it as much as I wanted to. So, I had a decision to make. I booked myself onto that flight at 1:16pm.

My chest tightened. I knew I made a mistake. “You’re going home to make sure your cat is okay through the storm, it’s okay. You’ll be able to make it to work on Wednesday,” I kept reminding myself. But I could not believe these words, and I cancelled this flight. Instead, I rebooked myself onto the next flight leaving on Wednesday and sighed a breath of relief.

It sounds so silly, but in that moment I realized that I needed to put myself first. I booked a vacation for a reason, so I should follow through with it. Work can wait. And you know what? Everything was fine when I went in on Thursday. All of my deadlines were met and no one was upset with me.

If I had left on that Monday, I would’ve missed this beautiful sunset.

turks-and-caicos-sunset

And I would’ve missed out on this great seafood paella at Las Brisas Restaurant.

seafood-paella

So here’s to more vacations, lessons learned, and putting myself first.

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