Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vacation? What's the point?!

Now and then I have one of those sort of days. The kind that makes your mind escape to the thought of getting away from it all. No overgrown lawn, no pesky computer problems, no unrealistic deadlines, no traffic jam. Just you, the sun, a warm breeze and the laughter of your family around you. A good string of days that make all but forgotten the pile of poop waiting for you to come back with the shovel.

All but forgotten (i.e. not actually forgotten).

I struggled for years with the idea of taking a vacation. Initially, my wife and I just couldn't afford it so that would settle any debate on whether or not we should. But even in those times, I had this notion of vacations being pointless. I suppose that stems from not growing up taking annual vacations with the family. So, as I grew older I began to consider the concept of vacationing.

The sum of my understanding was that vacations often served as the temporary release valve for the mounting pressures of adulthood. Families would pile into the car, or board a plane, or whatever and wave good riddance to a normal existence for a week or so of adventurous good times.

As I examined this, still not having taken a vacation myself, I realized that my problem with the whole idea of getting away for a while was...well the "getting away for a while" part.

It just seemed as though people went on vacation to escape life for a few days—which is fine and all, but don't they have to come back? And when they return, won't said pile of poop just be sitting there in the front yard awaiting their return? Then what's the point of that?!

I asked myself (and my wife) that question up until we took our very first bonafide family vacation in mid 2007. We strapped our then 4-year-old daughter into her car seat in our cool PT Cruiser and went road-tripin' from Atlanta to Orlando for about a week. The time together was awesome and it totally altered my perspective.

Turns out there's nothing wrong with the concept of stepping back from a set of stubborn problems to take a little breather. I realized that I do it all the time at home and at work. A vacation is just a slightly larger step back for a slightly deeper breather in unison with loved ones who may actually need the same temporary relief from their own various pressures.

Sure there will likely be the same bit of junk awaiting your return. But within reason, I now say let it wait because, to the point of a vacation, relief—however temporary—helps win back a clearer, sharper mind to deal with it all when you get home again.

Besides, a little poop is good for the lawn.

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