Ah, Vacation!

October 18, 2012
Fishing Trip

Photo: From Dr. Waxler’s personal collection, documenting his “long distance offshore fishing trip.”

It always seems to be too far off and then suddenly it’s time. Stress rises in anticipation; the preparations begin.  You make all the arrangements to care for your house, your pets, your mail.  All the while your thoughts are pushing you toward your upcoming time off.   The pace can rise to a frenzy of activity just getting ready.  Why is it taking so long for the time to arrive? The work desk gets cleared, you leave your problems behind and finally, it’s time to go.

The day arrives, all things are in order and you BLAST out the door- ready to fly!  Did you get everything done? What did you forget?  Oh, never mind, the time has come and off you go, breaking light and speed barriers to enter the restful bliss of much needed time off.

Ah, Vacation!

After a couple of days to calm down, the pace and rhythm of your time is different.  Maybe you’re on a long distance offshore fishing trip and you’re up every morning as the day breaks with loads of time just waiting for the hours of incredible action and physical fatigue that comes with the sport.

Maybe you are traveling in a foreign land, trying to communicate and exploring rich history and incredible architectural sites, and feeling those throbbing ‘Angelino feet’.

Maybe, you are just lazing around on a beach, or climbing a mountain, or dining in a world famous restaurant.

Each day is further away from your point of origin, even if you are just hanging around town.

Your world takes on different characters, smells, sounds and   is eye- opening and restful even in the presence of extreme activity because it is different and wonderful.

Then, the time slips by and as suddenly as it came on. . . It ends.  Why so soon?  You could use just one more day.

You slink back in to work rested and ready for the expected post vacation onslaught of activity. You steady yourself for the workload you are sooooo used to and wonder how long that sensation of time off will last in your soul, brain and attitude.  You ask yourself, sometimes, if anyone will notice that you have been changed by your experience.  You realize that you are actually quite revitalized.

The pressures of that first day try hard to squeeze the vacated space out of your brain and you fight it, for a while. Eventually, it wins and you are back in your routine thinking again. . .

Ah, vacation!

To be gone, or not to be gone? That is the question.

According to a summary of recent studies, from 22 to 57 percent of Americans fail to take their entire allotted days off. Other surveys have calculated that as many as 66 percent of us keep working when we could be kicking back somewhere, leaving unused a total of 459 million vacation days.

Many people are afraid to take off the time for various reasons.  In good times, there is much to do and you may be driven by the workload.  In hard times, you may not have the resources or, if possible, would rather sell the time than take it. Or maybe just you feel uneasy about being gone (someone might do my job better, they don’t like it when I take off the time, it won’t look good).

Given studies showing links between working too much — and too long without time away — and increased risk for health problems like heart disease and depression it seems silly. Yet job security or lack thereof, skews our priorities.

Common sense says the ability to step away from our work is very important.

A change of pace is a good thing.

And… Just what the doctor ordered!

Anyone need some fish?   Where should we go next?


About Robert Waxler, M.D.

Robert Waxler, M.D. specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics at the Bob Hope Health Center.

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