I am a week away from vacation. It’s a big deal to me. This is the first true vacation I’ve had in five years. Due to fiscal issues, I did not have the opportunity to do much other than not work with my vacations. This year, I’m part of the family Myrtle Beach trip, and I’m excited.
I have a large family. A lot of people can say that, but I do not know many families where the extended members (aunts, uncles, nieces, grandparents, etc) get together on a regular basis and all take vacations together. We are close knit. My cousins are some of my best friends, and while I tend to be quiet in groups, I grew up knowing them, watching them grow alongside of me, and will always have this sort of connection to them that no words can satisfy.
This year, we are, once again, going to Myrtle Beach. I went with much the same group five years ago. We drive, which means 2 days travel down, and a night’s stay in a motel. When we arrive at our condo, it’s usually with a sense of relief and that vacation is really starting.
We’re not the exciting people. We don’t go to all the tourist traps, or spend every night out on the town. Heck, we don’t even spend every day swimming in the ocean, or going to all that South Carolina provides. Truth is, most of us sit on a couch, lay on a bed, or sit on the beach with a book, just absorbing the sun that we’ve missed in the five month winter we have, and enjoying not being at work, not being on a deadline, and not being at someone’s mercy.
That’s why vacation is so important. Sure, some (including me) cannot unplug totally while gone, but honestly, I take my laptop, not just to websurf, but to write. I take my cell so my family can reach me. I have even given coworkers the right to text me when they need to vent. But, to not have to be up at 4am to go to work and deal with overrunning pots, loud people, and the crazies? Paradise doesn’t quite describe it.
I enjoyed my last trip. A lot happened, and it was somewhat overwhelming, and even now, I’m looking at my bank account and wondering if I saved enough, and whether this trip was worth the loss. Then, I look in the mirror, I look at my work schedule, I feel the tension in my shoulders, and I read the commentary my cousin, who I haven’t seen since Christmas (and that was brief!), excitedly posts on my Facebook profile, and I know the answer. This is my family. One day, sadly, I will not have them here to make them laugh. These vacations are once in a lifetime opportunities. The same group may not go another year. The same festivities may not happen again. And, really, I must evaluate: Am I willing to lose that?
I think you already know my answer.