I have been on vacation. Well, to use the trendy term, I’ve been on a “stay-cation,” since my Best Beloved couldn’t get away from her work. But I reached an important point in the year. I received a message from my boss who asked, “Do you know how much vacation time you have built up? Do you know how much of it you use if you don’t lose it before December?”
So, I’ve been on vacation. Unfortunately, vacation is something I don’t do all that well. Oh, I can stay home instead of going to the hospital. I can turn off the alarm and sleep in; which is to say that I can sleep until 7:00 a.m., instead of rolling out by 5:30.
I can set aside some reading. I went to the library and picked up a couple of books. Of course, one of them was Sanjay Gupta’s new work on wonderful new medical discoveries. I set aside some other light reading – articles from the New England Journal and from Resuscitation.
I’m just not good at taking time off, unless I’m really away. Let me charter a sailboat, or get away to a monastery, and after a little adjustment – okay, two to three days’ adjustment – I can stop thinking about professional things and attend just to what’s around me. I can leave the phone off, and do nothing more professional than say Morning Prayer and Compline.
Somehow, taking time off at home just isn’t the same. I know it’s my own fault. There’s plenty of distraction. The garage has to be converted back from garden staging area to auto storage. Hot peppers and raspberries are still coming, if the tomatoes are past it and the basil has shriveled. Leaves are accumulating on the lawn. With winds prevailing from the west, no one on my block rakes his own leaves. Instead each of us rakes up the leaves that blew from the trees of the neighbors to the west. So, there’s plenty to do.
There are opportunities for cleaning and cleaning out. It took me a while to work out recycling the old dehumidifier (it was both harder than simpler than I had imagined). Some of my Styrofoam packing material was clean enough to recycle, but some wasn’t. Still, my Best Beloved was pleased with the vacuuming.
And I managed not to check my work email – well, not more than once a day. After all, I didn’t want to get back into the office and have several hundred emails to clear out (and I’m afraid that’s not much of an exaggeration).
But, really, I’m not a workaholic, and I did enjoy my time at home. I still have some time to work at it. I still have more vacation days to burn off. I’ll take some time around Thanksgiving.
Just be patient with me. I enjoy taking time away. I’m just not very good at it.