It’s a peaceful morning sitting here lakeside. Occasionally a loon breaks the silence, the mist is rising off the water, some birds flutter by or are heard calling to each other from the safety of the trees. It was a gorgeous, solid 8 hours of sleep when I’m use to 6 1/2. Ah…vacation.
I suppose what makes vacation days so special is the infrequency of them. We know each year we only have so many, and the fewer we get, the more we may try to pack as much as we can into them in order to provide us with the memories needed to sustain us for another year. Some pack so much into them in fact, that when they head back home, they feel the need to take a break!
How do you see your vacation? A time to recharge? Reconnect with your culture? Take a trip to somewhere you’ve never been? Maybe your vacation is really spent at home, unwinding in your patio recliner, beautifying your property, enjoying what you’ve worked so hard to create. I suppose how you spend your vacation depends on a number of things; your finances, interests, the number of days you’ve got in the first place, the distance you’re willing to travel and whether the decision on how you spend it is yours alone to make or not.
I find a lot of people tie their vacation to the work they do. It’s understandable that colleagues will ask what your plans are. When you come back they might ask to see photos unless you’ve posted them online. They will certainly hope you come back recharged and energized as you get back to your job.
Some people talk about getting away from the job as if the job were something bad; something to escape from. These are likely the same people who on Monday mornings are heard to say, “Only 4 more days until the weekend”, and ever day they count down the days until they are released. Do you see your job that way? Maybe it’s not a healthy view to see yourself as being chained to your job like a sentence and your vacation as a release for good behaviour.
Whatever you do, however you spend it, I certainly hope that you have few regrets when you’re back to work. You know, regrets over how much you spent, what you wished you’d done vs. what you actually did. Some people feel they’ve got obligations they have to keep which cut into their, ‘me’ or ‘us’ time. Visiting family, spending time doing pretty much anything when you’d rather be doing something else.
For me personally, there’s something about heading out on a highway when I’m on vacation that just feels different than when I head out on those same roads at other times. Especially if I’m headed north. I’ve got these visual landmarks that signal to me that the vacation has really begun; that stretch of highway where there’s rock walls on both sides of the highway, the curving roads that are tree-lined and the blue rivers and lakes that come into view through the speckled green canopies of birch trees and pines. Every so often I just realize I’m breathing deeper, feeling calmer, relaxing as I immerse myself in the natural environment.
Road trips pulling a camper with no specific destinations planned which must be arrived at on a certain day; this is my personal idea of a vacation. You know, if the road still calls and you feel good, you keep driving. If the mood strikes you to pull in early, you start looking for a place to set up that has a swimming area, (lakes and rivers are best, outdoor pools next), a trail or two for hiking. Hey, even a campground in a small town is nice for a change when you want to do laundry, sightsee, have the odd meal out rather than cook it yourself.
The thing about vacation time is that it’s supposed to be YOUR time. Time to spend as you choose and with whom you choose. It’s necessary time too. Sometimes I think we’ve got this whole work time / vacation time matrix backwards. It would be good wouldn’t it to have more time to spend as we wish and less working. Not that work is something to avoid or get away from if and when you love the work you do.
So what’s in your plans? May the weather be good, the watch left at home in the dresser drawer, the memories you create positive and the laughs plentiful. This is time to treat yourself; read that book, rest and relax, explore and learn, challenge yourself or maybe even turn your attention to some self-healing. What you do should bring you contentment, joy and have you happier in the end.
Here and now I’m looking at two weeks. The plan calls for some time renting a cottage, a little camping, a weekend with family at their place on the lake, and I’m trading my job as an Employment Counsellor for my role as Grandfather.
Sure when it’s all over we return to our workplaces and for a short-time we’re still feeling the impact of our time off. Soon we’re back in the swing of things; our everyday working life takes over. Not such a bad thing though; it does give us reason to look at the calendar and see when we’re next off!