We are officially past spring-break season and moving into summertime at sprinter speed! Sure, we toot the horn of saving and investing for the future, but what about enjoying the now a little bit too?

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly my family down to the beautiful Gulf Coast in Florida this last week. The planning came earlier this year when we decided we needed to embrace the end of tax season and go somewhere! My husband is a CPA, and tax time is insanely busy for us, so a little reward for all the hard work is well deserved. Little did we know that the tax deadline would move to May 17th. Surprise number 1.

In the final days leading up to the trip I buttoned up the necessary plans and reservations so that travel would go smoothly. The rental car! Shoot, I failed to book one. It had been so long since we have traveled with the family and needed a rental car, it completely slipped my mind. Apparently, a rental car reservation needed to happen weeks in advance. Surprise number 2. There is a solution for everything, so I ended up scheduling a shuttle to and from the airport and renting a golf cart for transportation in the local area. What I thought would be a problem turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My boys loved riding around on a golf cart and it was new to me to be in an area that accepted golf cars as legal motorized vehicles on the road. For those nervous grandparents reading this (I know what you are thinking), we stayed safe wearing seat belts and using less busy roads near the beach.

Upon arrival, the first thing to do is check out the local landscape. We pulled up to the beach and stopped at a quaint seaside restaurant with an open-air bar, grabbed a drink (kiddie cocktails for the kids!), and walked the white sands. The weather was sunny but cooler than expected. I checked out my weather app that read 66 degrees. Looking at the future forecast temperatures were going to remain cool for the rest of the trip with Saturday expected to be rainy all day. Surprise number 3. Although the weather was not ideal, it did not impact our ability to enjoy, another unexpected twist that ended up being a blessing. The rainy weather forced us to do other activities we probably wouldn’t have if it had been perfect beach conditions. We stumbled on an aquarium park that was a blast! The kids enjoyed a dolphin show and seeing all the marine animals they don’t usually get to see living in Wisconsin.

We filled our days from dawn till dusk. My boys started to take on fish-like swimming abilities due to the amount of time spent in the pool. The morning of departure I woke up to a snotty nose on my two-year-old. I didn’t think anyone was getting sick this year unless it was covid? (just kidding) But that was surprise number 4. Traveling with young children is fun but it is exhausting.  I was at least able to have some rest and relaxation on the plane ride home and watched Disney’s new ‘Mulan’ movie. I highly recommend it! Watching a movie is something I never make time for, so it was a treat.

The country is certainly open for business. We ran into several mid-westerners that told me they were happy to be vaccinated and able to travel again. It was refreshing to see and experience. Resting and taking vacation time is something I’m terrible at scheduling in, so I’m aiming to be better at that. When I think back on our trip, many takeaways come to mind. First, making memories with those you love is invaluable. Second, nothing is perfect. When something doesn’t go according to plan, all you have control over is your reaction to it. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I think in one way or another, over the past year, there’s been quite a bit of challenge and testing of our personal circumstances. I hope you can reflect and see the good, learn from the past, and appreciate where we’re at today. Enjoying today is just as important as planning for tomorrow.


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More About the Author: Sheena Hanson

Sheena is a highly regarded financial expert known for her clear explanations and practical advice on complex financial matters. She earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ designation in 2010 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse.