By Lisa Sugarman
You know what I’ve decided to do tomorrow? Go on, guess. And be creative.
Take a minute. Don’t rush.
Actually, I want to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Short of taking a nice, long run with Dave and then showering off only because the smell will annoy my kids, I’m tapping out for the entire day. I’m staying in my jammies, lighting a fire, maybe eating some Wheat Thins straight out of the box, and reading the last five weeks of my Marblehead Reporter. I may even have two, possibly three cups of coffee. And you know what else? I may even purposely spike said coffee with a little bit of Baileys if I’m in the mood. You know why? Because I can. And you why I can? Because it’s school vacation week and this is my idea of the perfect vacation.
Now my idea of vacation bliss may not be your idea of vacation bliss and that’s perfectly fine. Free country, you know. But when I think of what defines a good vacation, the definitions are endless. And that’s because it means something different to just about anyone you ask. And I find that so fun. Because vacations are completely subjective. And that’s the beauty. No one’s ever allowed to criticize or judge what makes you happy on your vacation. Anything goes. (It’s a rule.)
You of course have those people who just can’t wait to get out of town and get to a beach—any beach—where the sand is scorching under your feet. Because that’s how they roll for school break.
Then you’ve got your cold-weather types (I drop myself into that category, too). You know them, they’re the ones who pack the Thule so full of skis and boots and boards that it’s always one speed bump away from exploding open before they hit the New Hampshire state line. Those are the people who just have to ski it or ride it or climb it or snowshoe it to have a satisfying vacation. And I know, it sounds like an awful lot of work for a vacation, but relaxation is really all relative to who you are and what you like.
Take the new parents out there whose preschoolers are on vacation for the first time. Their idea of a relaxing week will probably not, in any way, shape, or form, include airline tickets. Because how in God’s name could anyone think that taking a screaming, squirming, restless little person on a plane would be a great way to relax? So these are the people who look forward to long days playing Polly Pockets or Legos in their feety pajamas and maybe going as far as Chuck E. Cheese’s, where you can play any game for just one token. Every day. (That’s a direct quote from their website. I can’t make this stuff up.)
You’ve also got your pub crawlers and your shoppers and your readers and your staycationers and your exercisers and your adventurers. The range is broad. Some find it relaxing to stay put and enjoy being home, in their cozy house, taking advantage of doing all the things that the hectic day-to-day won’t allow.
While others just can’t get out of Dodge fast enough. They want a change of pace, a different view. A break from the daily routine. These are the people who crave a little distance between themselves and all the stuff they could be doing at home, like cleaning or organizing or cooking or shopping. Because let’s be honest, it’s not easy to ignore the vacuum cleaner when you have extra time on your hands. It calls to you. A lot like the leftover Linda’s Chocolate Fudge Cake from the Cheesecake Factory that you shove in the backmost part of the fridge, behind the boxes of Swanson Chicken Broth. It still finds a way to remind you it’s there. And the dust bunnies! Oh, the dust bunnies. They follow you from room to room, a lot like a new puppy who just begs for your attention. But if you’re away, you’re not tortured by any of these things. And there’s a lot to be said for that.
So these people who choose to travel for their vacation do it in part just to get away and to remove the temptation of doing stuff they don’t want to be reminded they need to do. They use the Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind Technique. It’s quite brilliant, really. And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind the challenges associated with travel, like the packing and unpacking and repacking and doing excessive amounts of laundry on the back end of your trip, then you’re where you belong. And there are a lot of you out there.
I was a Get-out-of-Dodger for a long time. Used to pack the car every Friday afternoon and be on the road headed for the mountains every weekend. Gone. And I counted the days until school vacations when we could get away for nine or ten days at a time. It was heaven. We did it for seven or eight years when our kids were young. We pushed that garage door remote and never looked back. And it’s funny, at the time, I never thought of the packing or the laundry or the gear or the getting up to get first tracks at 8:00am as anything but a vacation. Although now that our kids are older and we’re in a different phase of our life, I sometimes wonder how I pulled it all together so happily every time.
I’m still that person who loves to get away, but under the right circumstances. Like when my destination includes a mother with a Samsung frontloading dryer with the steam feature. Or a mother-in-law who won’t hear of us lifting a finger to cook while we’re on vacation. Those are vacations worth the schlep.
I guess the older I get and the busier life becomes, the more I’ve learned to appreciate the down time, especially when it includes actually getting the chance to sit down.
So I guess what I’m saying here is simply this… whatever you do with your week off—whether it involves planes, trains, or automobiles, or standing on your head—be in the moment and suck it dry. Just be like the Burger King and have it your way. And enjoy it. And if that means actually going to Burger King, then go with it. You’re on vacation.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn OR follow her blog at https://itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.