THE WIFE and I took a vacation over the Thanksgiving week, visiting beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. It was a wonderful trip full of fun, food, and sights; plus we were able to connect with some old college friends. All in all it was a great time.
Yes and no.
As I’ve stated more than a few times, I’m actually busier now than when I was working. I’m less stressed and my schedule is completely different, but I’m far from bored. I spend my time running errands (post office trip today – CHECK!) and helping neighbors (THE CHEF needed a drink shaker and THE NEIGHBOR needed a jump start) while working in the occasional lunch with people like THE FORMER BOSS. And that’s all before I mention the list of Christmas decorations I’m supposed to be putting up…
But when you’re not working, what are you taking a vacation from? Daily tasks? Your normal routine? Those don’t seem like that big of a deal. Who needs time away from that?
Everyone, that’s who.
The vacation was a break from the normal daily ins and outs, but it was also a chance to get THE WIFE away from all that she has been dealing with at work. So part of the joy of the trip was watching her relax and enjoy herself. But before you paint me as a selfless saint only concerned with her well-being, the trip was also good (and important) for me. It was a different type of decompression. It was that feeling you get when your biggest concern if choosing a restaurant or figuring out where the ice machine is in the hotel. It was the act of walking the streets of the historic district and taking pictures. It was laughing along and reading bad lines in a comedy play. It was learning more about tea than we ever wanted to know. And it was finding ourselves eating octopus while sipping fancy cocktails on a culinary tour.
So it was everything that being home isn’t, and it was accessing that part of the brain and that set of experiences you don’t have sleeping in your own bed. And that’s good. You may think of a vacation as a chance to just not be at work, but it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to do the things you find interesting and fun, but never quite devote enough time to when you are home. And that, once again, is something to add to the list of things that should be important as part of everyday life. Is there a way to work some of these experiences into either my retired life or my next work adventure? I don’t know, but it’s worth at least considering.
So, yes, you can go on vacation when you are retired. And it still counts.