Why I Don’t Need a Vacation

A lot of people tell me (usually when I’m complaining) what a charmed life I lead. Well, duh! I’ve never contended otherwise. I’m extremely lucky and blessed in many ways. But, despite the effortlessness I strive to portray, it’s not easy, and whether you want to admit it or not, I do work hard. The difference between me and many others, from what I can tell at least, is the way I approach the day. And this is a secret that is only a secret because I never thought much about it until a friend mentioned how it seemed like my life was so carefree and easy. Well, it’s not. No one would admit theirs is. But what I try to do is live each day as if I was on vacation.

A vacation need not be constituted by travel around the world or expensive hotels or catered dinners. For me, a vacation is a frame of mind. All the joy and exuberance I might outwardly muster is from this unconscious (up until now) effort to behave as if I was on perpetual vacation from the drudgery of life.

First off, when most of us are on vacation we don’t care what other people think – mostly because we’ll likely never see them again. In far-off lands and foreign climes, we let our guard down because we’re relatively safe in assuming that the people we encounter won’t be following us back to the workplace or the Thanksgiving Dinner table. There’s safety and security, and more than a little freedom, in anonymity.

Second, we wear crazy and fun outfits when we’re on vacation – whether that’s in more relaxed beach garb, or fanciful formal couture for dressy dinners. We dig out the cocktail dress or the bow tie, we try out hats that we never would have looked twice at when home. Some guys might even squeeze into a Speedo on a beach outside of America. It’s the time and place when we dare to be what we’ve always wanted to be, and it’s all okay because we think what happens on vacation stays outside of real life, and judgment, and criticizing homeland eyes.

Third, on vacation we splurge and treat ourselves to things we normally wouldn’t. Whether that’s dessert, or an expensive piece of jewelry, or an extra cocktail, we relax and indulge. We take the time to pamper ourselves, to give in to the pleasurable impulse, to seize the day. And through that, the important things suddenly come to the forefront, and when you realize what really matters in life, it makes everything that much easier.

Finally, we learn to relax and let go of the trivial things that bother us every other day of the year. Strict schedules bend and sway, tight rules break and unbind, and rigid countenances melt away. We laugh a little easier, we look with a little more wonder, we stop sweating the small stuff. What was initially a physical, concrete form of change and transformation takes on a mental and emotional aspect too. A vacation doesn’t just change your outer surroundings, it changes the inner workings too.

If you think I lead a charmed life, it’s probably no more charming than yours – I’ve just learned to treat it a little differently. Yes, there are costs to such a lifestyle (American Express can back me up on that), but for peace of mind, for happiness and contentment, well, it’s worth it. There’s enough sadness and anger and insanity in this world. Why begrudge yourself a little fun in the midst of such madness? Take a vacation – starting today, and starting again on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday… and …

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