Smile, you’re on vacation

Emily Caswell

Emily Caswell

A hot pink Michael Kors cross body bag. Spotting this on a rack at a discount store during a recent vacation to Florida made me not only excited, but also able to breathe a sigh of relief. It had all been worth it. Missing an hour of beach time was okay because I found something I’d been searching for for a year, and at an extremely discounted price to top it off.

I grabbed the bag, along with about 10 (okay, maybe 15) other items and hit the checkout, only to have my sister, Tricia, who I was shopping with, suggest we hit up a few more shopping hot spots before finally making our way to the beach. My guilt grew and then all of a sudden it didn’t.

At least once a week I realize that the old saying is so true – we do get wiser with age. But more and more I’m finding that the older I get, the more I’m really good at cutting myself some slack. Maybe that’s part of the getting wiser.

In my former life as a (very) young person, I would waste countless hours and lots of brain power beating myself up for missing a work out or eating at a fast food restaurant and God forbid I skip even 10 minutes of beach time while it was sunny and I was within walking distance of a body of water. As a sun worshiper that was perhaps one of the worst crimes against myself I could commit.

The other thing that comes with age is a harsh reality trip to the dermatologist office. These days I don’t so much layout in the sun to acquire a tan, but more so just to be outside. As a Michigan native it can feel like a sin to spend anytime indoors when the weather clearly permits having fun outdoors.

As my sister and I left that first store and headed to our second and then third shopping destination I took a deep breath and realized that the fact is, I love shopping. It may be an expensive habit, but it truly brings me joy. There is no greater feeling for me than finding the perfect item, especially – when like the Michael Kors bag – it’s been on my wish list for a while. Some people ski, some people boat, I shop. And no matter what you love, you should do it while on vacation.

Taking that deep breath gave me a second to put things in perspective. I was spending time with my sister who lives out of state, we were enjoying each other’s company (anyone with a sister knows it doesn’t always work out that way), I was having fun and I was happy. Reminding myself that the point of a vacation is basically all of the above and not necessarily to spend every waking moment within arms-length of a body of water, helped me to relax.

Vacation is not a time to feel guilty. As long as there’s a smile on your face, you’re doing it right. And if you’re as good as Tricia and I, chances are there’s a smile on your face, new shoes on your feet and a fabulous new bag on your shoulder.

Emily Caswell is the brand manager for View Newspaper Group. You can reach her at

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