Life Lessons from Vacation

21Aug14
The Norfolk wherry Albion, sailing the broads.

The Norfolk Wherry Albion, photo by Hel-hama. (Used under Creative Commons license)

This summer I took my first ‘real’ vacation in years. I’ve used my “Annual Leave” (as we call in the semi-autonomous government agency that I work at) mostly for long weekend ‘staycations’ and for partial days to go to interviews or to volunteer during technical rehearsal week for my daughter’s ballet ensemble. (I find that working tech weeks is actually proof of the axiom that a change is as good as a rest, because I find myself refreshed by following four hours at the office by eight at the theater for a week.)  Before this summer, the last time that I remember being away from home for longer than a weekend was about nine years ago, when my family spent a weekend dog sitting for friends’ and family’s 12 dogs.

I came back from my vacation this summer with a few lessons that I need to try to remember back in day-to-day life, when I’m spending 40 hours a week in a job that I find less than ideal. After I came back (between thinking of this blog entry and starting on it) I came across an article on LinkedIn that summed up some of what I had experienced, but had been unable to find words for.

Aside from returning rested (and those thoughts that are better expressed in the article in the link above), here are my five big lessons from my vacation:

  1. I can smile. As I am in a job that I consider less-than-ideal (for a number of reasons), I often spend weeks without smiling. On vacation, I was able to smile frequently, and once even for a full day.
  2. When you’re doing something you enjoy, life is a whole lot better. Getting to travel and explore new places was refreshing, and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I also enjoy revisiting places I am familiar with. I got to do both on this vacation. Even if I don’t get a chance to do these specific things for a long while, I think I can enjoy my life more if I find a way to incorporate doing more of the things I enjoy.
  3. Taking a break from daily life can be refreshing. Taking time off without leaving home can give you a break, but you have the same chores, the same bills, and the same surroundings. Changing your physical space can help change your mental space.
  4. First impressions can be deceptive. On my birthday, we got to go out on the Albion (pictured above), a century-old trading wherry, maintained by the Norfolk Wherry Trust. On an outing as a charterer, even on a misty, grey, windy day, helping to fly the sail and steer the boat was an incredible experience. (I love boats and was still smiling when I woke up the next morning.) It was nothing like the life of a wherryman. Wherrymen would have loaded cargoes of 40 tons with a crew of two, sailed them up the river and unloaded, only to load again and return — in all weathers and living in extremely cramped quarters.
  5. I really need to find a job that fulfills my soul, so I can discover my smile more often.
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One Response to “Life Lessons from Vacation”


  1. 1 Selling a Mid-Life Crisis | withamouthfullofstones

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