Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Vacation Effect
My blog post is a little late today, but I have a great excuse. I BLAME VACATION. Don't get me wrong, I love vacations. When I worked a corporate job, my biggest complaint was the measly two weeks of time off -- well, that and idiot bosses, and meetings that made my brain bleed. With one week at Christmas and one in the summer, you don't even have time to send "Wish you were here" postcards. Now I can take more vacation time, but the Vacation Effect hasn't changed a bit. Here's how it works.
First, there's the pre-vacation planning. Not just tickets and bookings and car rentals and whatever else, but packing and arrangements while you're gone and who watches the guinea pig and what about the garden and the mail and so on and so forth. You're exhausted by the time you step on that plane. But this isn't your first rodeo, so you have a plan. This trip, you're going to send the happy "Wish you were here" postcards on Day One, so you don't forget.
Then you get where you're going, and if all goes well, it's lovely and relaxing and you write your postcards at an outdoor patio overlooking a charming sailboat-dotted harbor while tanned and sexy men ogle your sundress-wearing self. But if you're like me, and most of your vacations involve far-flung family members, you're suddenly dealing with family dynamics you thought you left behind twenty years ago. And it's even worse now, because the next generation is involved. Cousins are great to have around, unless they play the violin much better than your kid, or are already reading at a high school level at age nine. Tip: if you share a vacation rental with your parents, cousins, and stepdaughter, prepare for occasional tension. But hopefully you also have some nice moments of alone time, even if they're spent curled up on the bathroom floor in a fetal position.
So now you've survived your vacation. You're home again. And you're behind on everything! The garden has decided to explode with weeds in your absence. The mail's in the mud. The refrigerator contains unrecognizable substances that presumably used to be leftovers. School starts tomorrow. Blog posts are screaming your name. Christmas is staring you down like an assassin with a sniper rifle.
And those postcards? They're at the bottom of your purse with gum on them.
Not only that, when your excuse is vacation, people aren't that sympathetic. So you focus on the positive and rave about the marvelous time you had. How great it was to see your family. What a wonderful break it was. Wish you were there, you say.
So how about you? Did you go on vacation this summer? Where did you go? Do you ever suffer from Vacation Effect?
Juniper Bell's latest book is BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION. Click the cover for more.