So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s in part because there’s not a whole heck of a lot new. That’s both a blessing and a curse in some respects. However, recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a 12-day road trip with one of my closest friends. This was to be my first vacation in the 4 years I’ve been at Siena, and my friend Jen’s first true vacation in at least that long. In the past, the occasional long weekend was about as exciting as things got, which was usually enough to get away to Boston, New York, or other locations to relax and get away from Albany.
As the departure date grew close, I was nervous about leaving work for such a long period of time. I’d be away from the office for eight days. It wasn’t that I was afraid of falling behind, as in truth, this summer has given me considerable amounts of time to be ahead of my timeline for almost every project. It wasn’t because I was worried about things going to hell in a handcart, as I’m fortunate to work in a great office with 5 (soon to be 6 again) RDs who truly are rockstars. It wasn’t even the prospect of spending 12 days in a car with someone (all of our friends thought we were crazy and we’d come back hating each other). Fortunately, that didn’t happen, although we did get a little crazy at points.
It was the simple question “What does one DO on vacation?” that had me perplexed. I’ve always been someone who doesn’t view my job as “work.” Simply put, I love doing what I do, and I just happen to be lucky enough to be compensated for it. The craziness associated with the hours of a live-in staff member has never really bothered me. In fact, I’m bizarre in that I actually ENJOY it. Needless to say, the prospect of a vacation and not quite knowing what to do was making me nervous.
As our vacation unfolded and with stops in Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Gambier, OH; Madison, WI; and Milwaukee, WI, I began to learn the importance of this nebulous term “vacation.” Being able to have no set agenda and make plan to do things completely based on my own preferences was liberating. Whether going to the beach and reading a book (SC), touring the Newseum (DC), or taking a bike ride around Lake Mendota (WI), I had the ability to do things that I enjoy but without the attachment of “work” as a label.
So, why write about this? I wonder what I would have done had I taken real vacations earlier in my career. Granted, not every trip needs to be an adventure like the one I just returned from, but even taking a week and going to one place is enough to get away and recharge. Would my approach to my work have been any different in those early years? In some respects, I would say yes, especially where it relates to encouraging others to take time for themselves. I’ve never pushed people to take time off, as there is never a shortage of work to be done on a college/university campus, however, coming back to work after a week off had me refocused, reenergized, and ready to dive into my remaining summer projects.
To everyone, regardless of position, take a vacation! Take a “staycation.” Do something to get you out of the office and time to recharge.
What have YOU done for time to recharge? Share it with me in the comments or via twitter @adamcasler