Friday, May 29, 2009

A Holiday from Guilt and Routine Can be Enough

We were supposed to go camping over Memorial Day weekend, but it didn’t work out. Therefore, to make up for the lost opportunity, we spent the first 2 days of the long weekend living life to the fullest. We had 2 incredible cookouts with friends, a full Saturday of baseball games, outdoor exercise, socializing, and even 7 ½ hours of amusement park rides. We more than made up for any lost camping weekend.

Then when the REAL holiday came around Monday morning…we were completely and utterly exhausted. We all woke up at the regular time, but it just seemed to be taking us forever to motivate to do anything. “What a waste!” I immediately thought to myself. “We could have done THIS and THIS or THIS….” What kind of “holiday” were we having at all?

But then I realized that we were having a “holiday” in the original context of the word. We were having a holiday from something, rather than to somewhere.

We had a holiday from school. A holiday from work. A holiday from cleaning the house (that one was mine, by the way). A holiday from our alarm clock.

A holiday from guilt and obligation.

And that alone was enough to make it a wonderful vacation.

A vacation should give us a discernable break from our daily routine, lifting the pressure off of us long enough to allow us to catch our breath, live life a little differently, and then fully return to our work with renewed energy and purpose. If we are not getting this feeling of “ahh” both during and after the vacation, it’s probably because we are doing one of the two things: a) putting pressure (and therefore, guilt) on ourselves to do too much in the effort to live an entire year’s worth of FUN in that one holiday, or b) not breaking out of our usual habits enough to make it feel any different from what we do every day. My friend Sarah called this type of vacation, “My life, just in a different place.”

A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive, long, or even far away to do the job- it just needs to be different and guilt-free. So, from now on, as long as those parameters are being met, I am going to try to kick back, relax, and refill….and teach my family to do the same.

-TWM

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