I still remember the endless summers I had as a kid. Hanging with friends, camps, swimming, playing baseball, playing tennis, riding bikes (both pedals and motors), visiting grandparents, going to the library, movies, putt putt golf, .... a weeklong vacation with the family. A week? That's just wrong. OK, if you're lucky it was two weeks.
Somehow the endless summers slipped away. It was slow, but sure.
A couple recent stories. One was with a best buddy from my formative years. They are torn about whether to go to the mountains for a week this summer or to head for the beach. My initial question was, why not a week at both? Is is really impossible to make that happen? Second was a quick weekend trip (overnight) trip out of state. The reason for coming back so quickly was to get back to work. Really? Maybe just the easier answer. Next was somebody that I used to work with just took a new job. Two weeks of vacation a year .... WTF? At least there is a vacation policy and not this bullshit unofficial "take as much as you need" policy. You know ... the one that makes you feel guilty about every single day you take off. Letting down your teammates. When you leave the company, there is no accrued vacation to settle up. Good for them, bad for you. Ok, one last story. A friend has a son who was interning for the summer. He came home after the first week and said something to the effect, "I'm not sure about this 40 hour a week job, every week, every year for the rest of my life.". Ha, if only he had known it is nowhere near "only 40 hours" ;).
As graduation caps fly and we get bombarded with the annual commencement address videos offering a variety of life advice, I'd like to offer one more.
Take more than a 1 week summer vacation this year.
Time away from your day to day responsibilities is therapeutic and I guarantee that you will actually do some work along the way. If you ask my wife, she'll say I'm still working 8 months into the gap year! Sure, I take about 3-5 meetings a week, what's wrong with that? I'm taking 4 online classes too. But there is plenty of time for play too.
It all happened gradually enough. Full summers off. Then part time work during school and the summer. Then 10 week internships (hopefully paid). Maybe a semester of paid work thrown in there. Then a fulltime job. Promotions. Then you send your family on a extra trip without you because you just can't take the time. More promotions and responsibility. Can't take all the vacation you get and you are maxed out. It happens.
Start to claw some of it back. Start with going to BOTH the mountains AND the beach. If you dare, there is always the sabbatical.