After 17 days in a row without having to go to the office during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays I learned that I don’t “vacation” well. For most of those days, I spent my time catching up on random projects that have been outstanding on my To Do List for the last several months. However, those projects were not the most pressing items that I should have been addressing. Some of the more immediate demands on my time that I should have addressed included preparing materials for the two classes I’m teaching at the local college this spring semester, completing my annual performance review of my work during the last year at my company, updating my accounting software with the two small businesses that I own, etc.
Instead of hitting on those items, I focused on rest and relaxation – almost to an extreme. In fact, early in my vacation there were some days that I didn’t roll out of bed until after 12 o’clock noon. Talk about a waste of a day!
One of the most disappointing parts of my vacation, though, was that I didn’t reach the point of renewal and energy growth that I reached several years ago when I took a similarly long hiatus from the office. During that prior vacation, I distinctly remember some time around the 13th or 14th day that I was out of the office I began to truly feel relaxed. I was on a great sleeping schedule, I was active during the day, I was active during the night, and things were going so well that I actually felt relaxed enough to have my metaphorical batteries feel recharged. When that vacation ended, I remember going back into the office like a ball of fire. Even the commute didn’t bother me after that vacation! Okay, well the commute not bothering me was short-lived for sure, but I was still charged up and ready to go after that staycation.
In addition to using my vacation to take care of many of the long-term items on my To Do List, I believe that one of the reasons why I was not able to achieve that zen-like relaxation was because I – again – opted for a staycation versus a true vacation. So in the future, I’m going to actually consider going on a real vacation when I take time off from the office. In fact, if you don’t count the different places that I travel to for work or the fraternity, then the last time I was truly on vacation was a trip to Orlando with my family when I was in sixth grade. And if I’m not mistaken, that would have been during the 1992 – 1993 academic year.
For years now, my older brother has been asking me to consider going on a cruise with the entire family. That might be an option to consider in the coming year. Also, I’ve wanted to visit the true northeast of the United States since I was young – to check out Vermont and New Hampshire during the fall months and see the rolling forests change color. That might be fun for a weekend trip. And I have to admit – I did have a good time when I visited both New Orleans and San Antonio for fraternity events. They would both be great places to visit during a regular vacation where I’m just getting away to get away.
Anyway, that’s what I learned after spending 17 days out of the office during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve season.