For many years, I regarded a vacation as a necessity. Like the two day weekend, I considered it vital to my health and well-being. Then I stopped being able to afford the time or money to take a vacation, and next thing you know, a decade and a half had gone by. Guess what? I lived. But my body has taken a beating, because the continual ongoing activities of my job — typing, mousing, clicking — are gradually rendering my right arm useless.
That’s when I realized that the reason we take vacations isn’t just for the change of scenery, although that’s important too. The real reason we need vacations is for the rest part of R&R. You can’t do the same thing to your body day after day for years without your body parts eventually wearing out. This is what’s happening to me.
Now that I know that I need to rest my body occasionally, I have an even more radical view of vacations. One week a year is nice but it’s not enough. The average person needs at least two weeks, and preferably four, spread throughout the year, to give body parts ravaged by repetitive stress a chance to recover.
Alas, vacations are starting to be luxury items with resort-type places charging $120 and up for a room for the night, and resort-located restaurants $100 or more for dinner for two. But that doesn’t reduce the necessity for a week of not doing the same old same old. If you’re anything like me, a staycation won’t work — staying at home means I will do at least some of what I normally do and/or stress about it until I do. So that’s out. The only way for someone like me to relax is to leave home, go to a relatively nice place (involving scenery, water, little shops), and act like a tourist.
This year, we’re going to try to do that. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but for several consecutive days this summer (or fall) I intend to do nothing more taxing than turn the pages of a book. My shoulder will thank me. My neck will rejoice. My mind will wander. And I won’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it because it’s a heath expense — and you don’t want to skimp on your health, now do you! Vacate if you can. Your body will thank you.