21 May 2016


My wife and I are just wrapping up our first real vacation in quite a few years. We've taken almost two weeks to travel, something that we haven't done in many years. We've had many "micro-vacations" over the years, but we haven't had a full-fledged vacation in a very long time. It's been really good for us in many ways, and we're both glad that we've done it, even though it cost us much more than we could comfortably afford. We've had to scrimp and save, but it's been worth it.

It seems that many people are foregoing vacations these days, either because they can't afford them or because they're "too busy." Some people even think that if they take a vacation, their world will come to a halt and the workplace will fall apart without their presence. But vacations are one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves, and especially if we live in cultures in which vacations are even possible, it's important that we take advantage of our opportunities to take them when they come.

The most important benefit of a vacation for me is the reminder that life goes on all over the place. When I'm stuck in my world, it's easy to forget that there are people everywhere going about their lives every day, speaking various languages and living in many different countries and following different social rules. In my own little world, life can get a bit routine, and I forget that the world is much, much bigger than my world allows for. I like being reminded that the world is full of individuals who love and live and breathe and hope and dream and suffer and feel. Such a reminder helps me to remember that I'm a part of something much, much bigger than I, and when I keep that in mind, I can more easily feel the humility and compassion that make my life richer.

The break from the routine, of course, is also important. It allows me to come back to my own world and tackle problems with a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of purpose. It helps me to see my situation in a much more positive light, and when that happens, I'm able to contribute more and better to my world.

Of course, vacations cost, in time, money, and effort. Not everyone is able to take full-fledged vacations every year or even every other year. For us, this vacation was many years in coming. Yet we do find time for the occasional three-day weekend somewhere else to help us to recharge ourselves. This vacation that we've just taken has reminded me of the importance of getting away, one way or another, just to recharge your motivation and enthusiasm and to make sure that our day-to-day lives don't wear us down completely and make us start feeling negative about our lives. Even if we find just little ways to get away for short periods of time, our vacations are extremely important to us, and they're a gift that not everyone on the planet shares the possibility of having. Which adds gratitude to the list of benefits of the vacations we are able to take.

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