Maine – a great read and place to vacation.
Jonah Lehrer has a piece on the benefits of taking a vacation. It seems the common wisdom of today is that vacations revieve us and help our performance in work, school, and life in general. I ask this: what if some of us cannot afford a vacation to a far away, exotic location, much less a week long get away?
In college, I use to take Saturdays to disconnect; be away from school, the computer (the best I could), and get outside. I believe Lehrer’s article can be beneficial for those of us simply looking to let go on our day(s) off:
Too often, we fail to consider the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always “close” to the problems of work, when we never silence our phones or stop responding to e-mail, we get trapped into certain mental habits. We assume that there is no other way to think about things, that this is how it must always be done. It’s not until we’re napping by the pool with a pina colada in hand — when work seems a million miles away — that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.
For those of us who are vacationing this month or are thinking of a getaway of sorts:
Timothy Egan: I saw one survey that ranked the United States down there with such fair labor havens as Vietnam and Indonesia for total amount of days off. Members of the European Union must provide full-time workers with a minimum of 20 paid vacation days, plus public holidays. The U.S. averages about 14 days, and of course there are no laws on minimum vacation requirements.
But everyone needs down time, even those with forced down time. I don’t know if you saw that story in the Sunday Business section of The Times trying to quantify how much, if any, happiness can be bought with money. Guess what: the research suggests that talking a vacation will make you much happier than buying a new couch, or a pair of shoes, or almost any material thing. You’re buying memories and something even more precious — free time.
I have been fortunate enough to get 2 weeks paid vacation each year. I hesitate, though, to take a vacation for I think I will gain some extra LBs, get out of shape from not working out as much, or cave in to other excuses. I remember reading a while back from a Men’s Health Magazine about how to truly take a vacation: turn off your phone, don’t follow the same routine, and do other things out of your norms. Here’s to living life and learning how to live.