I’m going on vacation.
Let me rephrase that: I am going on vacation for three whole weeks!
The last time I took off more than 10 days in a row was in 2006 (and it was because I had Chicken Pox, so it doesn’t really count). I took a two-week vacation in junior high school, then throughout high school and college I worked every spring, summer, and winter break because it was more important to earn a few bucks than take a well-earned breather. As a new-to-the-workforce young adult, I stretched my vacation days over long weekends and family holiday gatherings. As a new freelancer, I couldn’t imagine being able to take time off, let alone taking time away from the business that I loved and the clientele I’d worked so hard to create. (And I am well aware that our non-U.S. LWB readers are shaking their heads in disbelief at our crazy American work ethic.)
Can I just say this feels reeeeeeealllllly good? And can I also say that I recognize how lucky I am that I am free to check out for so long because, unlike most of my friends my age, I don’t have to worry about the kids.
This is no small thing. If I had kids, I’d be planning a trip to Disneyland or a family-friendly cruise or a stay in a resort that features pools with slides. I’d still be in mommy-mode, and it really wouldn’t be the break I need. Instead, I can turn off my cell phone, ignore e-mail, set aside my usual responsibilities, and pay attention to my own head and heart for a change.
Yes, I’ll be touring, experiencing, tasting, and exploring, but on vacation pace. My pace. Some people might accuse me of being selfish (and as a childfree woman, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d heard that). I think I’m being smart. I think I’ve worked hard and have earned my vacation. I plan on enjoying every quiet moment.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s already making a list of destination options for her next vacation.