Managing Vacation Anxiety

As I begin the careful calculus of packing and planning for my vacation, I’ve started weighing the various options I have for types of entertainment to bring with me to this isolated cabin. I have so many options that are portable enough to consider bringing with that I’m concerned I might be packing more tabletop and video games than everything else put together. It has been a long time since I’ve done anything to relax that didn’t center being at my apartment for an extended period of time, so I’ll admit I’m overly anxious about how to adequately prepare for my vacation. To be entirely fair to myself, something bad has happened every single time I’ve taken more than one or two days off of work for the past two years, so these anxieties aren’t entirely unfounded. Since one of the main strategies for processing anxieties involves acknowledging the parts that are actually reasonable or at least reasonable-adjacent and then taking steps to mitigate them, I’m giving myself space to over-plan and over-pack.

As I compile packing lists, grocery lists, and day-to-day schedules, I’m aware that all of these things will get cut down as the time to leave approaches. After all, I might enjoy replaying Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars in my free time, but packing a Super Nintendo that works only 10% of the time just for that one game seems a bit extreme. As does packing my N64 just to play the original Paper Mario when I still have Paper Mario: The Origami King to finish (which I stopped playing because I got distracted by having to move back in 2020 and then never picked back up because I finally got my hands on a PS4 and a collection of games I’d never gotten to play). The Switch is so much more compact, after all, and will be easier to use by myself since this group of five video game playing and movie watching people will only have maybe three TVs between us. The same goes for the Wii U, which I don’t even want for myself but that one of my siblings would like to have because she’d be able to play the re-release of Wind Waker on it. I’m already definitely bringing my PS4 for Horizon Forbidden West, Blu-Ray playing, and probably Dragon’s Dogma, so any more than that and I’d need to bring a fourth TV to justify the number of consoles I’m bringing.

Since this group originated as a D&D campaign, everyone is interested in playing some Dungeons and Dragons on the trip. The group has never actually played in-person, since we started online and then before we could make any plans to gather for a holiday game, the pandemic started. This would be our first chance to do that, so I’m also doing some work to prepare. It is a lot of work, running a D&D campaign, and though I’m cutting out some of it by running a module I have that includes a bunch of ready-made maps and extras, I still have to review the module, plan out the timing of this game, and make any edits required to adjust things for this rogue-less party. The party is comprised of three full spellcasters (bard, druid, and npc companion Cleric), a fighter, and a ranger/monk, so they’ll be able to deal with any combat scenarios super easily, but any locked doors or traps will potentially defeat them all. And that doesn’t even mention the basics of needing to read through it all at least once so I know what’s going on and don’t royally mess things up somehow (like the first time I ran Princes of the Apocalypse and wound up letting the players skip the entire early section of the game that would have them move around the area a bit, become familiar with the world, and level up because I accidentally gave them something that wasn’t supposed to be there until they’d gone to half a dozen other places first).

All of that doesn’t even touch on the books, movies, and TV shows I’ve been slowly accumulating. I have so many things I could do that thoughts of hiking, swimming, boating, and hanging out around a fire are only just occurring to me. So very much I could do and so little time to do it all in. And while none of this has anything to do with my anxieties about one of my eyes suddenly getting inflamed again or some past dental work breaking without warning or reason, I can’t actually do anything about those anxieties that I’m not already doing. So I focus on my lifelong quest to balance productivity and rest as I figure out how to spend my time on a vacation away from the rest of the world.

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