Last week I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. The type of day where my SmarTrip card didn’t work, the metro fare machines decided to only accept cash (and nothing smaller than a $20…) and the last train going in my direction slammed the doors shut in my face – with my purse on the inside of the train and the rest of my body on the outside. 90 minutes later I finally get home and collapse on the living room floor… because a bad commute is one thing, but when your entire life starts looking like that metro door slamming in your face… you start thinking, “I NEED A VACATION!”
Why is it that we don’t let ourselves relax during the every day routine? Why do we need to schedule breaks and vacations and ask for permission to turn off our phones, computers, and televisions? Usually around the end of August you start seeing the auto-response to every e-mail, “I’m currently our of the office on annual leave, I’ll be back on….” I question the unhealthy habit of only allowing us one vacation a year – one that we need to schedule months in advance and let everyone know, “I will be out of touch for the next week.” It seems silly that so much work goes into finding time to relax.
And then there’s the actual vacation – jammed packed with social activities, tours and special events – we tend to stay on the frantic pace of the work week throughout the vacation until that very last minute as we are packing up to go home. What happened to the lazy afternoons reading books while swinging in a hammock? The loping jaunts through the woods admiring the trees? We need time to reflect, time to appreciate what happened during the past year, time to give thanks.
I know that I’m not the first person to bemoan the vanishing lines that keep the office life and the personal life divided, or the first person to wonder when our lives became so over-scheduled, and hopefully I won’t be the last. But here’s my plea: Allow yourself a vacation from your Google calendar and your iPhone – even if it’s just for one afternoon, and allow yourself three blessed hours sitting under the trees to watch the sunlight play off the leaves. Trust me, you deserve it!
I personally am traveling to Maine – a long way to travel to find a quiet place to relax, I know, but last year I took these gorgeous pictures while hiking along the Maine coastline, and I’ve been thinking of Maine ever since. I promise to keep my cell phone off, my camera on, and I know I will return relaxed, rejuvenated and with a giant silly grin on my face.