Do You Hate Vacation – or Just the Sand?

Families on the beach are a great sources of quotes. This week, they were also an inspiration for this blog post.

A family of four – mom, dad, two boys – arrived at the hotel beach. Everyone looked happy enough to kill some time on the beach since it was too early for them to check into their room. Until. The. Rain.

sand-clearwaterThe smiles remained for three of the four, but the younger boy was in tears as they headed back toward the hotel. This was the exchange between the young boy and his mom.

Toddler:  “I hate vacation!”

Mom:       “Oh, honey, you don’t hate vacation. It’s the sand that’s bothering you.”

Toddler:   “It’s in my shoes.” The crying ramped up to sobbing.

And with that, the boy’s mom talked him through the ordeal of walking with sand-filled shoes another 10 feet to the sand-free area where his dad and older brother were patiently waiting for him.

A couple of hours later, I headed over to the sand-free pool. The family appeared to be having a great time: all four were in the pool. Both boys were laughing and playing. No shoes filled with sand here!

Lessons learned here from a toddler:

The next time you think it’s time to quit your job or fire a client, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is it really time to move on from your job or client, or do you just need to get out of the sandbox?
  • Do you feel the need to sever this relationship only when it’s raining, or is this job / client always a buzz kill?
  • Why am I spending so much time in a sandbox when I don’t like sand?

Sometimes asking and answering a couple of simple questions can provide new perspective. Give it a try the next time you’re tempted to run for cover when the rain hits while you’re in the sandbox.

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.


  1. For many us the sandbox is handling the details of our businesses that we have no real talent and/or liking for. It can drive a person to give up on the whole enterprise. In my case, I think of creating graphics for my website, blog posts and social media. I enjoy the work, but my skills are so limited that it takes way too much time. The result is not exactly what I want either. As soon as I can outsource, I’ll be out of that sandbox!

    • Outsourcing is a fabulous way to get out of a frustrating sandbox! Of course, we’ve got to spend some time doing things that may not always be to our liking, but having a handle on when to outsource and when to dig in is key.

  2. Love it Deb! As someone who doesn’t like the “dirt” of life, I totally get this analogy. I have learned to stick it out and walk in the sand, or dig in the dirt (compliments of my garden), as a lesson to myself, that sometimes life is messy and has some grit to it. I enjoyed your suggestion to take a step back and objectively observe if we are staying too long and need to move on. I’ve been known to “hold” on longer than I should, so having the objective perspective, certainly can bring clarity. Enjoy your time on the beach and hopefully you’ll experience dry sand most of your stay!
    Beverley Golden recently posted..Health is Truly a Matter of Choice(s)My Profile

    • Too funny Beverley – yes, it’s been a dry sand kind of day. And I’ve had a wonderful time in this sandbox. I can tend to stay too long in places than I should – trying to make myself fit in. Not any more – I’ve finally figured out that I am who I am. Short-term messiness is fine; long-term messiness, not so much:)
      Deb Nelson recently posted..Do You Hate Vacation – or Just the Sand?My Profile

  3. Oh, do I ever love points made through stories! And I love this question most of all :
    “Why am I spending so much time in a sandbox when I don’t like sand?” I’ll be putting that one in my back pocket.
    Nice post, Deb!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted..This Is Why I Write. Truth Is, It’s In My BonesMy Profile

  4. Great analogy! I think we all don’t like the “sand” at least a few times in our lives. I know for me, this happened when my kids were just born, then again when the kids were just starting elementary school. Change is good but of course it’s a little stressful. Thanks for sharing.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted..How To Spontaneously Speak With OthersMy Profile

  5. I never liked sand, but do like being by the water. This analogy reminds me of the years I often asked a client are you sure you don’t like what you do or is it the type of company you are working for? What an eye opener for some.

  6. Such a good analogy, Deb. So many times we get fed up and do something rash. The mom was brilliant in redirecting her son’s frustration to the correct issue. May I also have that insight when needed.

  7. What a great story. Amazing, isn’t it, how little tweaks to a bad situation can make things so much more palatable – like just getting sand out of one’s shoes. Also, it’s staggering how much the teeniest tweak to any situation can help a great deal. I’m a nurse, and at least 5 times a day for the last twenty years I’ve told patients not to be afraid to ask for something. I feel that when I tell them, “We all know what a difference moving a pillow two inches can make,” they GET IT – and have license to speak up and not feel that they’re bothering me or the rest of the staff.
    Joan Potter recently posted..TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS – A CONCERN?My Profile

  8. There is much to learn in the sandbox – where the rub does some good and where it’s gone a little ‘too far”. For sure take the little grains of wisdom and move on in due time. Fun analogy, thanks for the opportunity to reflect.
    Teresa Salhi recently posted..Big Fat Lies We Tell and Don’t Know ItMy Profile

  9. What a great question? Why do we play in a sandbox if we don’t like the sand? Whole new perspective on a situation I have been dealing with. Many thanks!
    Christy Soukhamneut recently posted..Do you run out of money before you run out of month?My Profile

  10. Redirecting and reframing are valuable tools we can use when we find ourselves stuck in our issues. Once we can change our perspective and our attitudes a whole new world opens up for us. Thanks for the wonderful analogy. Will think of you next time I’m at the beach.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted..The Business Benefits of DaydreamingMy Profile

  11. Awesome analogy Deb! Change is always a good thing and if it helps us even better 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted..What Must Have Skill Do You Need To Be Successful In Your Business?My Profile

  12. Good questions to ask oneself…sometimes it is probably time to move on from a client, and sometimes perhaps not. 🙂

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