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Last week we went on vacation to Colorado, which looks like a postcard and which was blessedly cool after the heat wave I’d been living through in my town. I mean, it was so cool I was wearing a hoodie. It was wonderful to be really cool, not just cold from the air conditioner.

I think I have figured out this traveling with fibromyalgia thing. It depends on being a little selfish. The reason for our trip was to make it to my family reunion. I have quite a large family (more than 100 people were there and–as my brother likes to say–“that’s not even most of us.”) Generally, you’d be expected to ride together and share hotel rooms and give people rides and wait around for other people to get done with breakfast before you head out on an adventure somewhere. That’s just the way it would be done in my family; it may not be how other families do it. Luckily, I’m old enough and employed enough to be able to do things on my own, so I was able to travel up with just my husband and to get our own hotel room and not share with anyone else. This meant that we could break up a thirteen hour trip in two days instead of having to make one long marathon of a drive in a day. It also meant that I could sleep in on the days I needed to and could take a nap on the days when I needed to. It meant that I could leave a place earlier than others or arrive later. It’s so important for people with fibromyalgia to work in rest breaks and not to over-extend ourselves. Family reunions are usually places where you don’t get all that much rest and you over-extend yourself (at least in my family). But rest is so important for me to enjoy myself at all. So I had to miss a few events or come late to dinner, but that’s okay. If I have to do that in order to enjoy myself at all, that’s okay.

In addition to breaking up the trip into two days and ensuring my ability to get rest, I made sure to get some exercise and to bring the painkillers. I know I’m just going to have more aches and pains, no matter what I do. I made use of the hotel pool for gentle exercises, did some gentle yoga in the hotel room, and made sure that I didn’t have to do too much walking.

But even though I did my best to manage my symptoms, just having to do more stuff in a day than my body is used to doing means I needed some extra rest yesterday and today. But that’s okay. I’ve long come to terms with the idea that in order to do even a fraction of the things I want to do, I’m going to have to have days of rest and recovery afterwards. These rest days are almost welcome since they come as a result of me doing things with myself. How can I resent my body needing to rest after a vacation?

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