Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's a vacation?

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (back when I took vacations)

An artist friend of mine had me over one day and we were sitting in his studio talking. He asked what I had been up to.

"I'm just working so much, I need a vacation."

"...what's a vacation?"

A little thrown off by the question, I replied, "It's when you get some time to do whatever you want. You go where you want. Sleep when you want. Vacations are when you don't answer to anyone but yourself."
He looked at me confused, ”...but I do that every day."

Well, shit. He had me there. Every day of his life was pretty much my definition of a vacation. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, and no one could tell him what to do. This isn't about "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" because that is such utter bullshit. Even my friend (who from my perspective is apparently on an endless vacation) works and he works hard every day because he feels compelled to do it; if he didn't, he probably wouldn't.

Let's be completely real here, I don't feel compelled to do a whole lot. I used to, there was a time when I felt like I was interested in EVERYTHING at once. My schedule was jammed with crap I wanted to do. Looking back, l definitely got sick a lot more often because I just wasn't resting enough. I had the energy, the drive, and so many things were calling to me. Who had time for rest and sleep?

These days, I feel obligated to do things. I feel obligated to get up and go on with my day for a long list of reasons: I have bills, we bought a house, we are a two-income family, I would be a really shitty stay at home mom, my student loans are scary, if I don't do certain things the house falls apart, I am keeping a tiny human alive, I am trying to be a good example for my daughter. The list could go on and on. Overall, I'm glad I'm not the type of person to just roll over and not deal with my responsibilities, but that sense of doing things because I want to...I have no idea where that went.

I took time off recently since I had accumulated a few vacation days. I was ready for my "staycation" and I had all of these ideas of things I was going to do. A whole WEEK of nothing but things I was interested in!

Ultimately, there were only 3 things I accomplished on that list:
  1. Watch Maury (because I fucking love Maury, but I don't DVR it because it's just better in the daytime).
  2. Have lunch with a friend whom I had not seen in a few months.
  3. Go to an artist's open house (it just so happened to be scheduled during the week I took off).
Otherwise, none of the other stuff I had planned for 5 glorious days had come to fruition. Why is that? Because even when I'm home alone, not working, my time is still not my time. For example, I REALLY wanted to work on my damn photo album because I'm already 2 years behind on that shit; but since we were having a BBQ on the Saturday after my final vacation day, there was an expectation that I would clean the house...not a big deal, but also not my top choice activity (especially during this whole week of ME time). Then it turned into me doing the shopping and picking out party supplies and getting stuff for the kids to do at the party, etc. Did I mention it was my own birthday party? The birthday party that the Mister swore I wouldn't have to do anything for other than show up. Remind me never to have one of those again.

After a week of doing a bunch of crap I didn't want to do, I had to run around hosting an all-day-into-the-night party. Come Sunday I was dead and wondering where my vacation went.

As a mom and a wife, will I ever get my own time? Time where you do things you are compelled to do, not obligated to do? Is that a thing that happens?

We're planning our first family vacation and I'm having the horrible realization that it's not actually going to be a vacation. I won't get to do what I want when I want, I definitely won't sleep when I want, and I'll have to answer to the Mister and our child (more so the child; toddlers are unreasonable and demanding little people). I guess what we're going on is actually a "trip" and not a "vacation". Which as far as I can tell, a trip is the same thing we do every weekend only stretched out over the course of 8 days, and in a completely different location. 

Granted, I feel very fortunate that we are able to plan this trip (yes, let's just call it what it is). Even if it does involve sticking a 2 1/2 year old on a plane, it's going to be a great experience for us as a family. The fact that it is not a vacation and that I don't know if I can ever take a vacation again, is making me want to become an artist. It seems like those guys have got it right.

#vacation #family #trip #artists #responsibilities  

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