Vacation. I didn’t used to really appreciate the value of them. Could be that I didn’t really need them much in my young years and early adulthood? Life was a lot more carefree and I was technically on a mini-cation every day at 5:00, plus I got two whole days—every week—to do whatever I wanted. Looking back, it seems like that was just too glorious to believe.
And then… there was authentic adulthood and a spouse, and motherhood, when five minutes in the bathroom or grocery shopping alone feels like a vacation and going on a trip is harder than a week at work.
I have discovered that there are degrees of Getting Away, starting with the desperate locking the door and watching The Vampire Diaries without interruptions and with the brownies you hid in the nightstand just for yourself.
Then there are business trips, where you’re out of your element and it’s a nice change of scenery, but you’re still working, likely more than eight hours a day. And at the end of the work day, you’re either alone in hotel room saving money, or spending a ton of it to entertain yourself in a new city. Or worse, left to hang out with the co-workers that you might normally enjoy parting with at 5pm every day.
Don’t even get me started on the joy of airline travel. Grown up people who act like first graders who can’t make it through the day if they don’t get to be line leader everywhere they go. The plane is not going to leave without you, y’big babies, so quit toe-stepping in front of me when they haven’t called your group yet.
Then there are road trips, where you spend more time in the car than not, seeing things and going places just for the sake of going. The joy of being behind the wheel and knowing you can drive till you’re hungry then eat till you’re tired. It’s a special kind of freedom to not have to be anywhere or do anything. It’s a young person’s adventure in my opinion. The older I get, the more ADD I become and I just can’t sit still that long, even with satellite radio and a million things to listen to, I can’t get over the fact that I’m. Not. Being. Productive. (Are we THERE yet?)
Then there are “trips.” Those are the times you pack up the car like you’re crossing the Mojave, and go across the state or the country to see… people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people, and I enjoy seeing them, but those are *not* vacations. Those are trips. Throw in an amusement or water park and now you’re just exercising. Over-40 Water Park Rule: You must wait one hour after eating before climbing the eight flights of stairs to this ride.
So yes, Memaw’s birthday or little Bucky’s graduation or seeing Booboo’s newest baby are all must-dos, but you still need a vacation when you get back.
Vacations are what you save up for and put on your calendar months in advance and think upon with longing when you are sitting at your desk or a traffic light and brag about when people ask you about your weekend or summer plans.
Again, sleeping on a fold-a-bed, helping with the dishes and visiting the local mall = Trip. Laying in the sun on a chaise while people bring you things with a smile = Vacation.
At no time in my home life would I lay down $8 on an umbrella drink. But you flip my Vacation switch and I’ll turn my wallet upside down to have two of them delivered to me while my feet are being massaged in a cabana watching HBO and scrolling through my Facebook feed. I will even push aside my coupons and tip you $10 to do it.
I am not proud of it, but the older I get the more I really do envy my friends-with-money. When I’m on vacation, I get to feel like them for just a brief moment in time. I really enjoy the break from my life as much as missing five days of work. I get to regress to childhood when all my worldly needs were met by other people. And unlike my FWMs, I also get to ignore my phone because I don’t have the Wall Street responsibilities that pay for that lifestyle 24/365.
If only we could live life in reverse a bit. I could use a little of that Daytona Beach Spring Break hedonism in my 40s. What are all the 19 year olds really “getting away” from anyway??