November 28th, 2003


Vacation and Holiday is NOT the Same

I am on the plane as I am writing this. Being home this week has been a pleasure, but it has also been very challenging. While the wedding was wonderful and a chance to relax, being home around Thanksgiving was not a chance to relax and get away from it all. Quite the opposite. When I got back from the wedding in New Orleans, my day was filled with errands and tasks, go pick this person up here and drop this person off there. Loads of friends to see and everyone wants more time than I can really give them to have it be meaningful. It was so stressful that I had a constant headache from Tuesday to Thursday evening. And it was at the apex of my disenchantment that I made a crucial discovery...a vacation is not the same as a holiday.

A vacation is an event one takes to relax and get away from the stresses and pressures of responsibility. A holiday is an event which by its very nature (specific in scope and deliverables, multi-faced, with many variables) is prone to cause stress. Over the past few years, because I have been taking vacation during holiday periods (specifically Thanksgiving/Christmas), I have usually come back from vacation in a worse physiological condition than when I began.

So now I made a choice. I decided that I would have to seperate vacations from holidays.

The good news in this is that now more of my time will be focused on fun and relaxing activities. And I will adjust my vacation schedule so that I now take one vacation in the first half of the year and the other vacation during the second half of the year, with annual home leave of 1 week to remain unchanged. I think using this approach will ensure that I don't go back to Sweden feeling mentally tired and exhausted. I sure hope so. Otherwise, the bad news will be that I will have no choice but to stop going home for the holidays and instead focus on vacation and my mental well-being.

As fantastic as Thanksgiving was (four generations sitting down together for a meal), I am not sure I can do holiday travel right now. I hope my solution above works. I really do.... :-/
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