vacation pic

I’ve never really enjoyed taking a vacation. The time, to me, seems ill-spent and empty. I wonder about this: is there something wrong with me, or do I simply need to “relax”? I don’t think so. I think that there is something more going on. Vacation implies the lack of work, but the lack of work is not necessarily a good thing unless, of course, you don’t like your work.


Now I’m not a great fan of polls and statistics, but to make a point here, more than 70% of Americans do not like their jobs! If that is the case, then I can certainly see why so many people put a price upon free time. But I don’t think that makes vacation a positive thing. Vacation is only seen in a positive light if you don’t like your job. Perhaps a better approach than dreaming of beach vacations and beer drinking debauchery is to simply do something that you like to do.


I love my job, and I am in the process of transitioning into another job that I believe I will love even more. This is what some in my family would call a “luxury dilemma”. I would have to concur. The dilemma, however, cannot be solved by taking a vacation but must be solved by doing some work. Research and development attitudes must be taken; assessing risk and defining responsibility must be clarified. Economic outcomes and expenses must be taken into consideration. This all sounds like work, and that is because it is.


I often hear people dreamily wave around the idea of “never working again”, but I firmly believe that they would be miserable after about two weeks. Work defines us, and not having work is in a sense losing one’s self. I am aware that in our modern and progressive societies we have been conditioned to define as work tedious tasks and mundane bureaucratic business. Often we have become nothing more than monkeys in a box looking longingly out sealed windows. We have defined work by profit rather than work by principle, and I think this is where the problem is. We must work for reasons other than making a profit.


I am not saying that we need to give the responsibility of our lives over to someone or something else. However, I am saying that our relentless hunt for more money is making us (and many others) miserable. Vacation entails time to be free from work, but this is only a problem if we do not have a job that we would do for free. Being honest with yourself is often difficult, but is always free. Maybe we need to remember that time is easy but is never free. In fact, it may be the most expensive thing we have.


One comment

  1. Alas, I must disagree with some (not all) of what you assert here. The premise that one only sees vacation time positively if one dislikes his or her job—that doesn’t hold true. In fact, one can be fully engaged and creatively challenged by a job, look forward to the work as I do most of the time, and yet find vacation from the routines and demands quite invigorating. In the best cases, it allows one to gain perspective, refresh attitudes, and gather energy–all of which underlie the roots of the compound word “recreation” (re-creation). I recently took a vacation from my job and consciously left behind all the devices that would allow me access to the tasks on my list. The six days I spent in a new place, in pursuit of relaxation and recreation, were remarkably rewarding. Now I’m back at work and doing what I need to do more efficiently and with greater ease. This is partly the idea behind the Hebrew sabbath, and finds resonance in many other traditions as well. So I think it may be true that for you, fallow time leads to anxiousness and a sense of lost time, I know many people who like their jobs and yet would say vacation has benefits for them.

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