Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Apologies for being absent from the kasbah this week. I have a good excuse, though.

This is all I’ve had the motivation for this week. Source: tinywhitedaisies.tumblr.com via Tami on Pinterest

You see, I have a note* that says I’ve been suffering from Re-entry Trauma following my vacation time last week. What is Re-entry Trauma you ask? It is when you’ve had time away from the usual routines of life and then are rudely dumped back in to “real life” (which, by the way, is a phrase I hate when referring to non-vacation time, as though living life beyond one’s usual daily life or taking a vacation is in some way not “real.” Believe me when I say the numbness in my arse from sitting in the car for 5 hours straight driving back from Seattle was real.)

For those not in the know, Re-entry trauma symptomatology includes a temporary, yet complete mind-sweep of all previously acquired knowledge and skills related to your chosen daily profession; a total lack of drive or desire to engage in your chosen daily profession; and the resulting dangerous f**k it attitude towards your chosen daily profession that employers tend to frown upon.

The good news is Re-entry Trauma usually abates within a day or two following one’s return from vacation. The bad news is Re-entry Trauma has a mind of its own and practically invented the f**k it attitude and can be all “Dude, you and me? We’re not done with each other yet. In fact, we’re just getting started. Didn’t I tell you? I’m hanging out with you for the whole week. Maybe longer if I sense even a molecule of drive or determination in you. Now sit back down in the hammock and pass me the Twizzlers.”

It was about this time that my genius showed up unannounced like he always does (what, you don’t have a genius? then you must read this post to find out how you get one), and said in his British accent, “You ready to rock that novel of ours, because I’ve got some brilliant ideas that — wait a minute. Who’s this?” And then Re-entry Trauma, knowing full well that my genius was pointing at him, couldn’t even be bothered to get up to introduce himself. And frankly, I couldn’t either. So, my genius just stood there, glaring at us with his arms crossed and tapping his foot until finally I couldn’t take it anymore and got up to write this blog post just to get the guy off my back.

So what can you do to get Re-entry Trauma to move out? Find a way to re-engage in your life that lets you keep a little of the magic that is vacation time. As soon as you show a little interest in being semi-productive, the little bastard will move on to less motivated pastures.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye, Re-entry Trauma. Source: itgirlragdoll.tumblr.com via Finkiyaya on Pinterest

Just writing this blog post is making me feel better already. See, Re-entry Trauma? I can get something done. I’d say put that in your pipe and smoke it, but I think you’re too lazy to even do that. Sure, it’s only one teeny, tiny blog post of no real significance in which I rambled on incoherently, but its value lies in that I wrote it and it’s done.

Just like you and me, Re-entry Trauma. Just like you and me.


How about you, productive readers? How do you transition back into the usual routines of life following a vacation? Do you ever suffer from Re-entry Trauma? If so, how do you cope with it? Sit, have some tea, and spill your story. I’d love to hear from you!

*It wasn’t so much a note as it was a suggestion. And by suggestion, I mean an idea that came to me as I slogged to work Monday morning. And by idea, I mean the only coherent thought I produced that entire day.

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14 thoughts on “The Perils of Going on Vacation

  1. Well . . . I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I have difficulty with Re-entry. I bumped into a woman I haven’t seen all summer and she said, “I haven’t seen your blog lately.” I started to skulk away and she said, “Don’t feel bad. It made me feel good that you slack off every now and again too.” Which, left me feeling good about being able to not do the work and bad about the fact that she clearly doesn’t know me very well if she thinks I slack off only every now and again. With 2 weeks left until school begins again (and routines can be restarted) I am slowly setting myself up for success. A little every day. We’ll see if that pans out . . . For now, though, can I borrow that hammock?

    • I’ve missed your blog posts, Sara, but I’m glad for you that you’ve had a good, relaxing summer.

      And yes, you can borrow the hammock, though I think I’ll be needing it back every now and then. Re-entry Trauma tracks me down after every vacation. 😉

  2. I haven’t taken a vacation is sooooo long I have forgotten what Re-entry Trauma feels like. Sigh. That said, I’m hoping to take that last week of August off from my day-job so I can sequester myself in my writing cave and jam on revision for my WIP. I’ll report back on day-job re-entry trauma after that. I’m sure it will be severe! Maybe I’ll hang a hammock across my cubicle to work through it. Hmmmm. 🙂

    • If you can’t recall what Re-entry Trauma is like then you certainly need a vacation. And I totally support hammocks in cubicles. If I could fit one in my tiny office, I would.

  3. First of all, NAMING IT helps. Hello Re-entry Trauma. How are you? Sit over there while I turn on my computer.
    Then I open my XL file where I keep track of what I have done. Date – project – time (even if it’s 5 minutes) and What. The “what” might be “read last 3 pages of m/s” or even “thought about reading last 3 pages of m/s”.
    Or, like you said, just wait it out. Lie in that hammock and think. Thinking is a component of writing.

    • You are so much more organized than I, Suzanne. I actually got some work done on the novel today and I think Re-entry Trauma is headed out of town now. Though I do wish he’d have left the hammock. It was a good place to think…

  4. Uh oh….now I’m feeling very heebie jeebie frightened. You have just described my own case of Re-entry Trauma to perfection, but there is a problem in that I HAVEN’T gone anywhere. Well, yeah a weekender here or there, but not a REAL VACATION.

    So how is it that I’m sinking in the sludge of Re-entry Trauma?

    Maybe the thing I really need is a VACATION?

    • Re-entry Trauma looks a lot like Needing-a-Vacation-itis. They are related, though the treatment is different. I recommend a long vacation, unplugged from everything, and when you get back Re-entry Trauma will be waiting for you with the hammock. No worries, though. We’re all here to help ease you back into things when you’re ready. And it’s best to keep your genius on call. 😉

  5. Re-entry Trauma. Good to know that there is a legitimate condition that interferes with my writing MoJo every time I return to my WIP after a bathroom break. If the condition has a name, it has to be serious! Perhaps I should take a vacation so that I may recover, but then, when I return, I shall induce suffering once more. What to do, what to do…

    I know! A perpetual vacation! A trip around the world! A move into a luxury hotel! Spa every weekend!

    Thank you, Tami. You may have just saved my life!

    • Re-entry Trauma is a misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed condition (so glad we’re all avoiding the overused and inaccurate word disorder) that seems to hit writers especially hard. I’m thrilled you have discovered a coping mechanism that works for you: a perpetual vacation. I like how you think. Don’t be alarmed if I show up on your doorstep next time I’m in the throes of RT. I’ll be needing some guidance on which spa to run away to is all.

  6. on ,
    marcia said:

    On returning to work Tuesday, after my 3,500 mile road trip to Arizona and back, I knew I was feeling something challenging….but now I know what that wasted, blurred eyed, slack jawed feeling is…Re-entry Trauma!!!!! Thank you Tami….I feel better already knowing what I’m suffering from. Cheers!

    • You have weathered Re-entry Trauma remarkably well given your long road trip. So glad you’re back. 🙂

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