Vacation’s Over, Back to Work

Is Living For the Weekend Truly Living?

I read an article recently that stated the average vacation time available to Europeans is four weeks.  Some even have six weeks of play time every year.  We’re not even talking those with ten, twenty, etc years with their employer.

Six weeks!  I pour over my work calendar annually, trying to eek the maximum value from my two weeks’ (plus one personal day, let’s not forget that) annual vacation.  I can’t even begin to think of how I’d spend six weeks’ vacation but I can tell you this:  I would have a hell of a lot more fun than I’m having now.

Friday hits.  Five p.m.  It’s the weekend!  Alright!  I have exactly 55 hours to have a blast, to do something memorable or at the very least, fun!  I have to make the most of every moment of the weekend because after Sunday night comes Monday morning.

And what am I thinking about on Monday morning?  Not work, not what’s in my email inbox, not what’s sitting on the workbench…but rather, next weekend!  Because that’s where the fun is, that’s where life is happening.

I’m just not so sure that life is supposed to be lived like this, most of it spent sleeping or not enjoying what you are doing, punctuated by brief moments of enjoyment or appreciation for what life has to offer.  I am constantly reminded of Joe Versus the Volcano.  The lights are sucking the life right out of me.

But it’s okay!  There’s a light at the end…vacation!  A whole week to do whatever I want!  Let’s go to Jamaica!  Let’s go to Orlando!  Let’s go to Texas!  So we go.  We hit up the swim-up bars at ten in the morning.  We see a shuttle launch.  We go see celebrities at a sci-fi convention.  We.  Have.  Fun.

And then we go back to work.

They say that vacation is supposed to be a chance to recharge your batteries, to recover from work and return ready to get back at it.  Except I don’t feel recharged any more.  I haven’t felt recharged in a while.  I just come back to work and feel resentful.  I feel like shit.

And it makes me sick.  I don’t want to feel this way about work!  I like my job well enough, it pays the bills and occasionally I learn something new, but it’s just a job.  It’s not what I want to do with my life.  Hell, I’m not even sure I know what I want to do with my life!  If I get another job, a different job, will I just find myself in the same place in three or four years?

So I just repeat the same cycle, hoping to get just enough relief from a vacation or a weekend to make it to the next day off.

And then there are our friends across the pond.  Starting off—starting off!—with four and six weeks’ vacation to help them cope with the stresses of work, to enjoy life and what the world has to offer.  Yes, I’m envious.  No, I don’t care that their economies are different.  No, I don’t care that mandated vacation is socialist.

What I care about is that life is happening all around us and we are spending most of it chained to our desk, cubicle, office, whatever to help someone else earn six-figure profits.

And as a reward we get 10 days out of 365 to do as we please.  Thankyouverymuch.

I want to travel!  I want to experience!  I want to appreciate!

Maybe I’m just a European in an American’s body.

 

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