Larry Banman – Redfining relaxation
Grand County, Colorado
Have you ever noticed that there can be nothing as tiring as a vacation? Conversely, have you noticed that a day at work can be invigorating and, dare I say, relaxing.
I have friends who constantly feed me the familiar line about the worst day of fishing/hunting always being better than the best day of working. I understand the premise, but I just can’t buy the assumption. At least not in every instance.
I have seen those same friends at work and they don’t always seem miserable. In fact, they are often no more vibrant than when they have completed a task, closed a deal or simply put together a productive day “at the office.”
When it comes to vacations, my wife and I don’t have many of the “get away” type of vacations that offer isolation, solitude and even a touch of boredom. I know it is my own fault, but our vacations are generally book-ended by a frantic attempt to get ahead at work and then a frenzied attack to catch up on what was missed. I know that says something negative about me, and my inability to give up control (or something) but that is a topic for another day.
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We almost always have a good time on vacation. In particular, she has taught me to find appreciation in almost anything that happens. For example, having to stop and fix a flat tire is an occasion to find a pretty rock in the borrow pit. Having a flight postponed or canceled means an adventure of another sort.
The only time I recall that my wife was unable to find the bright side of a situation was when we got caught in a windstorm with my youngest daughter on the sand dunes near Alamosa. I now know what etched glass feels like. It was annoying to me, but I reveled a bit in the challenge of tucking my youngest daughter inside my sweatshirt and trudging to the car. It was later, that I realized that my wife feared for our survival. If I have any future trips planned to the sand dunes, I know that it will be a solo venture.
However, it is the preparation for a vacation that I often find vexing. I find myself on this day preparing to be gone for a week. The plan is to spend some time in Grand Junction coaching high school basketball at a summer team camp. I look forward to the venture and it will provide its share of rewards and memories. It has been, however, 14 hours since this day started and it is only 7 p.m. Most of the morning was spent preparing to serve lunch in the Town Square during Kremmling Days. Serving the food and cleaning up took until 3 p.m. After that it was mowing the lawn and watering the vegetable garden. As I look toward the evening hours, I have yet to pack for the trip tomorrow, gather supplies for a week of 20 basketball games and finish up a couple of items at work.
It’s enough to want to cancel a vacation. I know I’m not alone. I know other people face the same obstacles and challenges. A lot of people come back from vacation, needing to rest up. It isn’t uncommon to hear somebody wonder if it was really worth the effort, the time, the trouble.
I think it is time for one of those paradigm shifts that I have read about. In 1962, Thomas Kuhn defined the concept of a paradigm shift. He argued that scientific advancement is “one conceptual world view replaced by another.” It is a change from one way of thinking to another.
The purpose of a vacation, ostensibly, is to recharge the batteries by getting a break from the routine of life that we all face the other 50 weeks of the year. I think that I am going to tweak a page from my wife’s book of “life’s little lessons” and apply one of her theories. We work, more or less, about 2080 hours a year. It is standard to get about 80 hours of vacation during that same year. Can you see the problem? We have 3.8 percent of the year to recover from the other 96.2 percent of the normal work schedule. With the wrong attitude, that is a schedule that can make all of us feel like Sisyphus, he of Greek mythology and the incessant uphill rolling of boulders.
It is time to start wringing out pleasure from the everyday. To enjoy a moment as often as possible. To take pleasure and find satisfaction even in the mundane. Then it doesn’t matter what you are doing. You don’t have to wait for a vacation to have a good time. A vacation can then just be another good time, only with different scenery.
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