Monday, September 23, 2013

Vacations and Purpose

“Here's to a vacation of no regrets!”

Joan Rylen

My work is like my vacation, so in a way every day is like Saturday.


When I go on vacation, I take very few clothes and a whole lot of books. It's the most soothing thing in the world.”

Nile Rodgers

There is a danger to leisure.  Today is the first day of my vacation and I have almost no obligations at the moment.  I have objectives I want to reach and I have ways I think I can enrich my life and be more productive, but at the moment there is absolutely nothing I have to do.  This is good because I rarely get “down time.”  There is almost always something that needs to be done.  At the moment though there is nothing.  I’ve done some reading this morning and now I’m writing my blog, but other than that, I’ve done very little. 
This may be okay for my first day of vacation, but I want to be careful that I don’t relive a painful event from the past.  When I was in college, I was taking Spanish and not doing well.  When Easter Break arrived, I promised myself I would spend at least one hour a day studying.  I had nine days off and I figured just an hour a day would give me nine hours of study and I would be caught up.
I studied for exactly zero hours. 
Perhaps, if I had written my goal down or gotten a study partner or managed my time better, I would have studied.  But I did none of those things and I ended the vacation feeling defeated.  Upon returning to school, a classmate asked how my vacation was and I replied, “Terrible!  I didn’t study at all.” 
She replied, “Mine was great because I didn’t study at all either.”
Different perspectives, I suppose.  I know this much:  I don’t want to go back to work in two weeks looking back with frustration and regret.  On the other hand, I don’t want to go back to work feeling exhausted either, so here’s the plan:
·      I’m going to write a list of things I want to accomplish in the next two weeks.
·      My list will include activities that are intellectual, financial, physical spiritual, emotional and recreational. 
·      I will take a broader two-week perspective as opposed to a day-to-day perspective.  In this way I can enjoy and be present in each day rather than feeling stressed and distracted because I’m not “working.”
·      I will write specific measurable goals.
·      I will keep these goals in front of me so I don’t forget. 
·      I will remember to have fun.

It helps to do this.  I think I will have a better vacation this way.
The word “vacation” comes from the Latin vacatio, which means “freedom from something.”  That’s what I want at the end of two weeks.  I want freedom.  I want to feel free and happy and content at the end of two weeks.  I want to feel the freedom of having done my best.  I want freedom in all areas of my life.   I don’t just want freedom away from things; I want freedom to do things. Specifically, I want freedom to
·      Have a productive and positive thought life;
·      Have all the money I need to provide for myself, for the people I love and for the world.
·      Create as much work as I can.
·      Spend time with people I love.
·      Have fun.

“Freedom isn’t free,” as the expression goes.  Freedom is a right, but it is also a privilege.  Like all privileges it must be used with respect.  Yes, I am free to waste my time, as long as I see it as my time.  If, however, I see it as time lent to me by God, then I have a responsibility to use it differently.  If I see it as a precious gift, then I want to use it well.  This doesn’t mean working every moment or not having fun.  It means living in the present moment in gratitude and knowing the appropriate thing to do at each moment.
I look forward to the next two weeks.  I look forward to creating my list and seeing how I feel when this vacation ends.  I look forward to the ability to Get Started and to Keep Going…and to have a nice vacation.