Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vacation


“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.”

Thomas Jefferson

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

Beverly Sills



For no reason at all, on a day off perhaps,  a weekend, a vacation day, or a day when you really don’t have anything pressing, you may feel a sense of urgency, a sense that time is short and precious, and that you don’t want to waste any of it.  Go with this feeling.  It’s not anxiety or discontent.  It’s not busyness for the sake of busyness.  It may be your Muse helping you to accomplish something.  Set a timer.  Then work on something that moves you towards your Purpose.  If at the end of that time, you still feel anxious, then go do something else.  But, if at the end of that time, you feel good, better, or great, then continue working.  That feeling is the assurance that you are moving towards your goals. 
You didn’t have to use your time this way.  You could have chosen to relax.  You can still choose that.  But maybe, just maybe, it feels more relaxing to do your work.  Maybe that peace you’re looking for isn’t on the couch with a remote; maybe it’s at the gym.  Maybe it’s in that project you’ve been avoiding.  Maybe it’s that online learning you need to do or that book you need to read.  Maybe you need to send out your resume or fill out an application or two.  Maybe you need to paint or draw something.  Maybe you need to get organized.  Maybe there’s a relationship you need to repair or improve.
Sometimes peace comes from sitting still.  More accurately, it comes from being still – internally.  We can be still on the inside and active on the outside.  In fact, that’s the best kind of peace, because we are determining how we use our time, rather than allowing time to use us.  We are in control of ourselves and thus in control of our lives.
What is your goal?  Are you moving towards it?  There is something waiting for each of us, a destiny, a plan, a goal.  No one has to follow it, but for those who choose to do so, life may become a lot more interesting.  Some say it will also become more difficult because effort requires difficulty, sacrifice, and perhaps even pain.  Here’s what I find painful:  the feeling that I missed a chance to be happy.  Relaxation is not always restful.   Many retired people have discovered this, as have many people with time off or on vacation.  Doing nothing turned out to be a lot more work.  But doing something, something meaningful, turned out to be the most relaxing thing ever.
A day off from work does not have to mean a day off from Purpose.  It’s not necessary to be a workaholic or neglect your loved ones, but can you put just 30 to 60 more minutes towards your goals.  That might make your day off a lot more relaxing. 
In most urban areas, summer is a time of vacation and rest.  But what we forget is that the reason summer vacations were three months long was because at one time most of America was rural and children needed to be home at the farms to help harvest the crops.  So it wasn’t a time of rest.  It was a time for a different kind of work. 
I’m also reminded of Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ant.  During the summer, the grasshopper loafed and made fun of the ant for working so hard.  But when winter came, the starving grasshopper sadly understood how he had missed his opportunity.
I don’t want to miss my opportunity.  So I’m working now.  I can rest later, but as the old English proverbs states, I want to “make hay while the sun shines.”  In other words, I want to Get Started and Keep Going…even while on vacation.