Rest and Recover not Rest and Peace

429 million vacation days went unused

When I came back from a vacation, there was a postcard on my desk about my employer campaign to take vacation before the end of the year. I told myself, “This is nice, and I can take another one.” Unfortunately, I already exhausted my 4 weeks’ vacation, and 1 week personal leave.  I was about to toss away the card but the red highlight that 429 million vacation days went unused caught my attention.  At lunch break, I googled “Unused Vacation” – top 3 results were:

Time Magazine “U.S. Leads in Unused Vacation Days

CNN Money “Vacation?  No thanks boss

Bloomberg “Vacation-Phobic Americans Donate a Million Years of Work Annually

Really?  Americans are workaholics. I begin to realize that even at vacation I see people with their work laptops --- literally working. I’m guilty. Is it our American culture to work like there is no tomorrow?

One time my high-profile project coincides with my family trip to Branson, Missouri. I had to be with my family, but I stayed in the condominium working. And on the way home, I got called and thanks to the MIFI technology, a wireless device that you can connect online. My family is quiet at back of the van while I talked on the phone, and logged in to the office server at work troubleshooting.  No, I wasn’t driving at the same time, I’m not that super duper multi-tasking guy --- my son Tim was the driver. :-)

We heard so many times, I can’t afford to take vacation --- well maybe you can’t take vacation because you are working very hard to pay off the latest smart phone or smart television or video game, or the designer clothes and bags, or the nice automobile.

If you really can’t afford due financial hardship, take that time off anyway, go and relax at home and forget about work. Read up that favorite book, have fun with your hobby, walk in the park, ride the bike, enjoy the flowers in the city botanical garden, and sit where you can see the sunrise or the sunset. There's so many things to do that are free.

We also heard, if I take vacation, work piles up when I return it’s too much work so I can’t afford one.  This is so true. But regardless, it’s always too much work anyway. How about applying those prioritization, delegation, and time-management concepts?

Projects just finished, and another one comes in.  No time to break, no time to celebrate, just rush back in. When you are still young you can handle the load, but soon your age will catch up, and you will get tired and burned out.  Continued work will take toll to your health. Yes, life is a long distance race, and sprinting will truly take you faster to rest and peace. Oops, did I just write that? Well, we will all reach that finish line but you don’t want to be the first one. So, slow down. It's OK to be late.

Vacation is the time to rest and recover – to replenish and rejuvenate.  It’s the time to bond with your family. The best vacation we ever had was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  It was the first time that we had no schedule to follow – it was the Do Nothing Free Flowing Week Vacation. We just go wherever we want to go, if we are late we don’t care. We watched family DVD movie at night, wake up late in the morning, stroll at the beach, eat at seafood restaurant, and we also went to a free dinner and show which we got tickets after attending a dreaded, hard sell timeshare presentation which is the only part of the vacation that I want to forget. We almost purchase another timeshare, but we did not. Whew! As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as free lunch” proved to be true; no more of that timeshare presentation please.  I will just pay for the tickets next time, thank you, ha ha ha! Anyways, we returned happy back to St Louis, and we were as ready to join workforce with more energy to succeed in our careers and provide excellent service to our customers.

Use those remaining vacation, and make sure to rest and recover.  Enjoy.


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