If nothing I’ve said so far this month has stuck like a burr under your saddle and made you “humpf”…well, this one might.
Today we’re talking vacations. I don’t know about you, but my facebook feed usually contains at least a few people counting down the days to a vacation, posting pictures from their vacation, or bemoaning the fact that they are no longer on vacation.
What is the obsession with vacations? (and here’s where I’ll become the burr) Is your life really that awful that you have to escape it every chance you get?
I’m serious. Let’s evaluate this from a mental health perspective, a more holistic view.
1. Why do you need the vacation? – And I’m not talking about your sister’s wedding or a family funeral. Why do you need to “get away from it all”? If you need to get away from the stress, trust me, the stress is still there when you return. If you need to relax, you will still need to do that when you get home. There are good reasons to vacation like “I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and eat French cheese”. But when the motive to vacation is to escape our current lives, you have a problem. Life is still there when you return. If this has happened to you, identify your reason for needing to escape and work on that here at home.
2. Your home should be your haven. – Your home should be where you can rest and relax. If it isn’t, evaluate why and fix those problems. I’m not recommending building a spa onto the side of your house. But are there areas that can be improved. For me, clutter makes my stress level go up. My home needs to be functional and organized in order for me to truly relax. (Notice I didn’t say spotless? But there are those women, bless their hearts, for whom that is the priority.)
3. “My children WILL have memories!” – When I asked a friend of mine why they always were going places, that was her answer. I have news for you. Your children will have memories regardless of where and how often you took them. Do you honestly think that they will only have memories if they aren’t home? What about traditions that are special to your family? Picnics in the living room, homemade ice cream nights, board games, flashlight walks… Come on! You are selling yourself short as a parent and overestimating the desires of your children if you think they will only have good memories if you take them places.
4. Can you afford it? – And if you can’t there are banks willing to lend you money to go on vacation! I had a hard time believing such a thing existed, but my banker friend assures me it is true and also said, “You wouldn’t believe how many of them we do.” Here’s the hook from a bank’s website (not my friends, I’d hope he wouldn’t be this unscrupulous) “Going on vacation can be very expensive. We understand that you work hard all year, and you deserve to take your vacation. That’s why at ________Financial Services, we offer vacation loans ranging from $500 – $5,000 to fit your needs” Did you catch that? You DESERVE to go into debt to go on vacation. You could be paying for the next 3 to 5 years for this year’s vacation. Of course the bank is going to lend you the money, it’s an easy ‘write’ for them and you pay them interest, usually more than other types of loans. Drive around any larger town, I’m sure you’ll see a billboard advertising financing for winter get-a-ways. If you can’t afford to go…DON’T GO!
Not all travel is bad. I love to go to Tennessee every January to spend time with my brother and his family. For a former job, I traveled monthly and I enjoyed it. I still enjoy traveling, but I love coming home even more. Don’t live your life counting down the days until the next time you can escape it. Live each day as the treasure it is, right here and right now. And take a vacation from wanting a vacation!
Day 21 Homework: Is your home your haven? What are some ways you can enjoy your home more?