In my previous post I intended to talk a little more about the sometimes jarring experience of returning to work after an extended vacation. Whether two weeks constitutes an “extended vacation” is, of course, debatable, but let’s just stipulate to that, okay?
During vacation I was able to do more of the things that make me feel like “me.” I enjoy my work, and can honestly say that I am fortunate in that regard, although it certainly has its share of challenges and frustrations. More than its share, at times, I think, but I digress. Over the two weeks, which included the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s, I did more reading, listened to more music, and was able to spend more time thinking about things than I ususally am, and was free of most obligations and demands on my time.
Vacation, they say, is good for you. Probably lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of death, etc., etc. (One thing I’ve wondered about for a while now: If we all die, how can anything reduce the risk of death? Seems to me the risk for each of us is 100%. Yes, yes, I know what they mean, but still.) All that may be true, and I was feeling more relaxed during my couple of weeks off, but as it was coming to an end, I couldn’t escape the feeling of the irresistable force meeting the immovable object. (The train off the rails was one way of visually depicting how I felt. The photo accompanying this post is another.)
In my better moments, which I seem better able to capture on vacation, I listen to music more carefully (whether it’s Rush, Pink Floyd, Osamu Kitajima, Gregorian chant, Bach, etc.), read (Thomas Merton) and meditate (Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina) more easily and deeply. I write more – not that I could ever really write, you know, but I enjoy the mechanics of it, the feeling of thought becoming motion becoming image.
Of course, during vacation I also found time to just veg out, watch some video (“Scrooge“, “A Christmas Story“, “Apollo 13“, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“, and a few episodes of “The West Wing” season 5), do some cooking, and take some photos. Unfortunately, this winter’s weather has been, well, wintry, at least more so than last year. That has left riding the motorcycle out of the question, though it doesn’t mean I can’t think about it and dream about it in the meantime.
It’s going to take some more practice, but I may yet get the hang of this vacation thing.