Posted on September 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM
"We have to deliver it," how many times have any of us heard that in our lifetime? I would guess it was probably fairly often. Delivery and putting out into the world is what we constantly do at work, at home, at school, and in our interpersonal relationships. We even "deliver" our babies.
Oftentimes this feels overwhelming. Yes, actually it can be relentless. I do not believe we were meant to always be putting things out without having equal time for taking things in. It is like breath, you can't always breathe out, you have to take air in. Another analogy would be to always serve food to others but never to eat. It just doesn't make sense.
Our vacations are the time we set aside for ourselves. A time away from the normal everyday tasks. If we are paying attention to the balance we need, to live a good healthy life, it should be the time when we take in from the world around us. We should try to make sure it is not a time to rush here and there trying to do everything we can - squeeze it all in.
This time away is the time to absorb the different, the flavorful, the joy of something totally alien from our day-to-day existence. Setting this period of time aside to recoup ourselves, and even (dare I say it?) to do nothing much for a whole day or two, that is what we need in order to be ready to go back and be even more productive.
It is unfortunate that in the US we seem to treat vacation like wasteful time, time lost from being productive, and time where we might lose our place in the promotion line. It is not wasteful to take care of ourselves and to slow down for a moment. It is healthy.
Finally, I have to say, a working vacation is not a vacation, it is a misnomer and should be seen as one. I do understand having clients with needs, I have been a freelance designer for almost 20 years. I also understand that clients feel they need to be able to reach you at any time. But in my experience if you alert your clients ahead of time that you will be away, and remind them if they contact you that you are on vacation but will see to their problem as soon as you return, they respect that boundary. For the most part that is sufficient. When it isn't, having someone else on call is the way to go.
I am not saying don't check your email or messages, I am saying don't get caught in it. Whatever the problem is, unless it is the destruction of the world, it can wait until you are back at the office.
In summary, I would strongly suggest the next time you have a week or two off from your everyday occupation, intentionally trying to slow down and take in. It could be really good for you.
Life Mantra: Vacation is a time to take in.