Monday, August 31, 2009

Are Vacations Worth It?

“Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.” – T.S. Eliot

In my last post I worried I’d lost the ability to pass time in a perfectly useless manner. Only minutes into vacation I discovered, like riding a bike, the knack comes back quickly. Though I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Saint Augustine and I do feel well rested, I can’t help but wonder if vacations are worth it.

Here are a few of the reasons I’m thinking they’re not:

Time, except in hospitals, airports and airplanes, moves at a rather fast clip. Vacation time, however, passes with the speed of light. No sooner had we set up camp in the North Beach RV Park, we found ourselves dismantling for the trip home. The long leisurely hours I’d imagined sitting around reading and doing nothing dissipated before ever materializing. Where did they go? It’s like they were sucked into a black hole before I had a chance to enjoy them.

On the trip home, we spent six hours pulled over on the shoulder of a busy highway waiting for help to arrive to repair two blown trailer tires, another couple of hours in the lovely confines of a tire repair shop, and an extra night away from home.

There’s a mound of dirty, sandy laundry sitting in front of the washer.

There is nothing to eat or drink in the house so a serious shopping trip is sorely needed.

Though most of the contents of a plastic bag full of mail will go directly into the trash, we still have to wade through it.

My ‘to do’ list, neglected for a week, now looks more like a novella than a list.

It’ll take days to catch up on the missed posts of my favorite bloggers, read and respond to email, and return phone calls.

To me, vacation is an invitation to eat and drink whatever I want. Now that it’s over, I wish I’d shown a little restraint. At my age, extra pounds adhere to my body like they were attached with super glue. Like a tacky souvenir, I’ll be reminded of my folly on a daily basis.

My muse obviously took a separate and extended vacation. She has me wondering if I’ll ever see her again.

So as I struggle to catch up and get back into my writing routine, I’m trying hard to convince myself that T.S. Eliot knew what he was talking about and that the time I wasted last week was really worth it.

Here’s a travel advisory for anyone heading to the Saint Augustine, Florida, area: I drank from the Fountain of Youth—it doesn’t work.

What do you think—are vacations worth it?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: T. S. Eliot, vacation, muse, guilt, travel advisory, Saint Augustine, Fountain of Youth,


Morgan Mandel said...

I'm leaving for a short vacation Thursday through Tuesday. I'll let you know when I get back if it was worth it. (g)

Morgan Mandel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You know what, Jane? I kinda have the same feeling regarding vacations. The to-do pile that awaits my return tends to negate the relaxation.

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Jane, this made me smile, but sadly. Yes, there is the seemingly endless to-do list when we return from vacation, but I do believe we need to break from our regular routines to replenish. I know I have to find some way to feed my soul when it feels empty. Sometimes I can do that in a few hours,sometimes a day, sometimes it require a few weeks.
We're going to Ireland and Scotland at the end of September for two weeks. I bought a netbook to take with, so I can blog about the trip. Probably won't leave too many comments on other blogs, though. It is, after all, a vacation.

cereus1 said...

Oh, and Jane, you didn't even mention the glorious hours spent preparing to go on vacation! All in all, I, too, wonder if vacations are worth it! Loved your post.

The Old Silly said...

Yes and no. Yes in that the R&R and traveling, all that - it's fun and invigorating. But the amount of work getting ready and able to leave and then all the catch up work afterward is exhausting!

Marvin D Wilson

Helen Ginger said...

I like vacations, although I liked them more before I read your post. Now, you've got me thinking about the aftermath of vacations. And just a couple of weeks before I head up north to see my sister. Hmm. Is it too late to cancel the flight?

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

I can only handle short vacations. Usually anything longer than 4 days is too much for me.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Did you mention expense, or was that simply assumed? Yeah, know the feeling. Spent 10 days in Italy a couple of years ago. It was a blur. When I got home, it seemed like we never left. The things that lingered, a host of credit card bill, a tacky, plastic statue of David, jet lag, and some nice photos. There are some pleasant memories too be sure, but the overwhelming sense was, are we back already? Did it really happen?

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Patricia Stoltey said...

I like the idea of a one or two day vacation. Any longer than that and I get itchy keyboard fingers.

Kerrie said...

Interesting blog post and interesting comments. We camp a lot too and I have to admit, I too have dreams of reading a book, writing a short story, or just relaxing, but that never seems to happen. What does happen is hanging out with my family, talking with my teenagers, hiking, throwing the frisbee around, building campfires...I don't really relax, I don't read a book, I don't write that story, but I do spend time with those I love most. Yes, the work is always there and piled up when I get home. But as I sort through the hundreds of emails I try to remember the investment of my time I gave to my family.

Carol Kilgore said...

I love vacations, but I don't feel like I'm really on vacation until about Day 4. Then it's almost time to pack up and return home. Think of that time as feeding your muse. And maybe she'll help with the laundry. Hasn't worked with mine, but maybe yours will have a different outlook.

Ami said...

Hi, Jane. Thanks for linking to Write Out Loud!

This is a great post. I always find that short vacations are rarely worth it, leaving me more tired, busy and overwhelmed than I was beforehand. But longer vacations (at least a full week) are perfect for re-energizing and relaxing--so long as I don't pack them full of sight-seeing and other to-dos. The thing about vacations is that I always feel like I need to fill my time with "fun stuff" when what I really need is to stop filling my time for a few days. In fact, some of my best "vacations" have been rainy Saturdays when I'm stuck in the house with a book and no laundry or dishes to do. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi Jane,
There's an award for you on my blog.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Morgan - I think you've earned a break and will find it's worth it.

Diane and Marvin - We need to find a way to negate to-do piles when we return from vacations instead of negating the relaxation.

Enjoy Ireland and Scotland, Karen, they're beautiful countries.

Good point, Carole. I quickly wiped the preparation part out of my mind.

Helen, don't cancel your trip - just pretend you never read this blog!

Christina and Patricia, Short vacations are good but sometimes can be too short to feel like a vacation.

True, Kerrie, spending time with the family is a plus on the worth it side.

Carol, I like the idea of my muse handling the laundry! Thanks for the award - I'm flattered.

Ami, vacations at home sound like the perfect solution.

Expense is another good point I missed, Galen. I lived in Italy for about 2 1/2 years and was always worn out from trying to see all there is to see - doing it in ten days would be exhausting.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Jane,
Just stopping by to tell you I just finished your book, "The Ride." I read it in one sitting. Yesterday, I couldn't make myself write, although I'd blocked out the entire day. So I decided to read instead. All I can say is, "Wow." There was one point, I got so upset with Barbie I almost put the book down, but so glad I didn't. Wonderful,Jane. Congratulations.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for the kind words, Karen. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book and appreciate you stopping by to let me know. Barbie's actions upset me a couple of times, too, but characters have minds of their own so what's an author to do!)

kathy said...

I always feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short, so yes, I think vacations are totally worth it. I can then say, "Sorry I'm behind. I was on vacation." Most of the time I'm just behind. :)

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world