The Value of a Vacation

shoesThis morning when I put on my shoes, I felt the leftover sand in them from my walk on the beach. It made me smile and remember how much fun my family and I had on our summer vacation.

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We walked on a beach at Cape Cod and collected seashells by the seashore. Sea spray covered the lens to my camera giving the photos a dream-like appearance. It was my youngest daughter’s first trip ever to the Atlantic Ocean. She swam in it with her father and her sister. She loved it even though she was stung by a jellyfish.

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We spent a couple days in Boston and fell in love with the city. Boston Proud. Indeed. What an incredible place full of history, charm, patriotism and utter resilience.

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Everyone we met seemed so nice and informative. Some relationships, however, didn’t last as long as others.

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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale from New Hampshire helped to ease of the pain of those particularly messy breakups.

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Our vacation ended 4,000 miles, an ocean and three days ago. I wished it could have lasted longer, but some time off away from the job and life as usual is far better than none at all.

Taking time off from your job is a good thing for so many reasons.

Let me count five no-brainer ways for you now:

1. Vacations reduce your stress levels. All work and no play not only stresses you out, but it transforms you into a fairly boring, one-dimensinal kind of person. This, coupled with stress, can lead to all sorts of physical, mental and emotional negativity in life.

2. Vacation time allows you to reconnect with your family members or significant others. Face the facts. People we love won’t always be around for us in life. Take advantage of time while it’s yours for the taking. Make your kids listen to Grandpa’s war stories now. Enjoy the moments you have with those closest to you because you just never know when fate will deal you a sucky hand.

3. Going on a vacation gives you something new to experience and to fondly remember later.  You become a doer rather than just a dreamer who can proudly wear the been there, done that t-shirt of life. Bucket lists, anyone?

4. Vacations give you an opportunity to recharge and refocus your braincells. When you do go back to work, you are rested and ready to do your job with a fresh set of eyes and a revitalized energy level. You are more patient and able to better deal with the people who may annoy you the most.

5.  If you’re brave enough to do it, vacations can also provide you a genuine opportunity to unplug, mentally and technologically. This may be easier said than done but it is worth the effort. Don’t check your Blackberry. Don’t worry about the project you were working on before you left the office. Instead, live on the edge and in the moment. Actually talk with your spouse or your kids and not just to them. Play those stupid, dusty board games if you can stand it or simply take a walk in the woods or on the beach. Swim in the pond. Overeat well and worry about your cholesterol level later. Pick the better wine regardless of the cost. Learn something new about the past and try to connect it to your life today.

You don’t have to travel 4,000 miles to go on vacation. You just have to go someplace with an open mind and a willing heart.  It helps to have a reliable GPS and a working corkscrew, too.

I hope you find sand in your shoes and I hope it makes you smile, too.

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4 Responses to The Value of a Vacation

  1. Cindy M says:

    Janet,
    I could not agree with you more. It is so unfortunate all the people who will not leave the ‘honey do’ list behind or have a fear of putting work aside to go and create a memory that will last forever. They are too worried about the NOW and not consider that the sand between their toes or the laughter of their family is the best medicine in the world. As for their JOB, when they get back it will be there. They would be refreshed and their memories and relaxation would be beneficial to both their health and employer not to mention the connection with family and friends. My husband served 35 years in the Navy and retired to give the family a great life and worked hard. We always shared small trips to make sure we took time for us. Now my husband has cancer, yet to no ones surprise we still travel, create memories, and like John says, ” I want that Dash on my grave stone not to be blank.” So eight grandchildren later and 3 day to 3 week get-a-ways, we are making a living living and so should you..

    • I love the way you and John view life, Cindy. And I have no doubt that 8 grandchildren and all those get-away adventures keep things very interesting for everyone! Thanks for writing!

  2. kathyfoote says:

    Love the idea of leftover sand in your shoes. And the lobster looks great. I advise people to NOT, under any circumstances, check their email, watch tv news, or listen to news on the radio. Being away from all the sadness in the world let’s your better angels take over and you realize how much goodness there is all around. But it takes a bit of time and willpower to let the world go like that.

    • Good to hear from you Kathy! I agree. It does take a bit of time and willpower to let that world go. I’m still at the stage of life where when I look for a place to stay, one of the first questions out of my mouth is … “do you have wifi?” I blame my teenagers. ! 🙂 Safe travels to you. Looking forward to your eventual return to German civilization!

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