Lately, there’s been this quote circulating on Twitter, as quotes tend to do. It irks me every time I see it. It’s something about how you should live a life that doesn’t require vacations, because you’re so happy with your day-to-day life.
This is, quite simply, crap. I knew it before, and after returning from a five-day jaunt to New York City for a little R&R, I’m even more convinced of the absolute necessity of vacating your normal life, just for a few days. It’s not about escaping, it’s about expanding. Here are just a few reasons you need to consider taking a break from work:
- Inspiration. I’m a creative. I’m a writer. To survive, I need words, I need dreams, I need things of beauty to help me find my own voice and my own place. Of course, these things can be found in the most unexpected of places, but for me, there’s little more inspiring than the stage, with its sweeping declarations of love or intimate moments of emotion, with its glorious songs and swelling orchestras. So while in New York, I gorged myself on theater, drawing strength and insight from the works of others. Sure, writing marketing copy is a smidgen different from writing a Broadway book, but the creative renewal allowed me to look at the same projects with new eyes, new angles, new ideas.
- Change in scene. The back room at Roundpeg is a great place. It’s full of smart people and lots of sunshine and a couple cats. It’s great. But staring at the same four walls, no matter how great the walls, can be a little stultifying. There’s something about just breathing new air and taking a few days away from routine and repetition that allows you to attack it with new verve and panache when you return.
- Let your coworkers miss you. The first time I ever left Roundpeg for a vacation, I was still an intern. While I was gone, Lorraine had a chance to imagine what life would be like without me in the office. When I got back from that vacation, Lorraine offered me a full-time job. There’s something to be said about letting others see what the place is like without you.
- Take care of yourself. These days, we do far too little to take care of ourselves. We’re always running from one place, one activity to the next without letting ourselves have time to be, to sleep or to eat or to dream properly. Just a few days away from eight (or twelve) hour days allows your body time to heal, rejuvenate and mend the damage you’ve done to it. Even when I was vacationing in the most stressful city in the world, I still found time for naps, for sitting in Central Park and reading excellent books. Because those things are important.
Vacationing isn’t a luxury. Even if you just take a quick road trip out of town for a day or two, don’t let those vacation days go to waste. Take care of yourself, and you’ll return bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to go back to giving work your all. Great vacations aren’t about escaping your life–they’re about living better. Now that I’m back in Indianapolis, I’m ready to be a better writer, better small business marketer and better coworker. I’ll keep living my life, keep doing what I do, but there’s nothing wrong with a little escape every now and then.