Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Need a Vacation from Vacation

I was talking to a friend yesterday.  Her aunt got married this Christmas, and so her family spent the whole holiday working to prepare for the event.  Her diagnosis of how she felt in the aftermath: “I feel like I need a vacation from vacation.”

I most heartily agreed with her.

Though it's no sacrifice to eat fresh pesto and bread!
For a teacher, vacation comes as a very valuable opportunity to do all the things which usually get put in second place.  After all, continuing to eat is key, so some sacrifices have to be made for the sake of a paycheck!  Our long, regularly occurring vacations do, however, help balance those sacrifices. 

Christmas is an odd time, though.  It’s amazing how much extra work has to be crammed into the preceding weeks and days, preparing for the feast.  I enjoy it all – quite a lot actually – but it means there’s an extra factor of weariness as I slide into my vacation days.  Then this year, on top of that, I went on a five day trip.

It was actually an amazing excursion, in which I got to reconnect with family members I’d not seen in ages…but you know how trips are.  Very little besides socializing gets done; very little sleep is available, thanks to the socializing and the strange living arrangements.  The result? Even more weariness.

And then, to top it off, I got sick – a cold and a stomach virus at the same time!  The universe is a cruel place. 

The irony of it all is that today, my first day back to school, is the first day I feel mostly restored and rested.  Maybe vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

Just kidding, actually.  I’ve had many delightful vacations in which I’ve gleefully tackled five different projects and still returned to work content and rested.  I can’t complain too much if now I have one dud vacation where nothing gets done besides a lot of nose-blowing.  (Actually, I did complain a lot, as all my long-suffering friends can attest, but I didn’t really need to!)

Life is as chaotic as a river...
Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who finds sometimes that vacations turn out to be a lot less fruitful than expected.  I had glorious plans, for example, of completing two whole chapters of editing.  What did I actually do?  Two pages in between naps on one of my flights. 

However, even though this caused me nearly to explode with frustration as I felt the end approaching too swiftly, I’m still going to offer the advice of patience.  If, like me, you’ve made splendid plans which fall completely into uselessness (this is the habit of plans, alas!), there is still hope. 

See, today I had no school work to bring home.  Instead I was able to organize some stuff in my storage room, clean up a bit around the house and then, after dinner, edit four pages straight!  So in just one day, after three weeks of inactivity, I was able to return to a good pace and make noticeable progress.

...but it can take us to a calm place!
Even if life seems perverse and refuses to cooperate, opportunities to complete your desires do eventually pop up somewhere.  I don’t know about you, but I find this very reassuring.  I tend to get extremely antsy when I see my plans falling apart around me, so it’s pleasant to know that even when I feel most frustrated there’s always a chance just around the corner to get back on top. 

I know it can be hard to keep one’s cool when life goes in its own direction, laughing at your attempts to corral it.  However, life’s direction often turns out to be okay if we can just learn to go with the flow.  Granted, we’ll always kick and struggle a bit – it’s the natural instinct when the current sweeps you away – but still, there’s a better chance of survival when we can keep our hopes up. 

In the end, I think those currents are often trying to take us to better places.  Keeping that in mind, I’m going to try to continue editing a few pages every night.  That way, even if my Christmas vacation wasn’t super successful, it will prompt me to make the next few weeks far more profitable for my writing life.  

1 comment:

  1. Einstein vacations (all relative) aren't really vacations) - are just a different set of four walls. That's what most of our 'vacations' are.
    So I hear you loud and clear. I'm always on the look out for that better place the 'current' is trying to take me too. I think I have to learn to fight it less. I've been rearranging my routines to help make some more 'me' time. Good luck with your editing...and thanks for your visits.