(Listen to the article above, if you’re like me and don’t know how to read anymore.)
After my last Substack, which outlined how to take mental time off of your work, my friend Dave Foos wrote to me to add that he thinks that when we vacation, we should take no less than two weeks off.
And yeah, this is a privilege, for sure. So that’s the disclaimer.
Here’s what Dave, who is super smart, said:
I wanted to quickly respond to your article about taking mental time off. Before I retired, I was a highly work-driven person. I loved pretty much all aspects of my job. The consequence, of course, with having a job you love, is that it tends to dominate the brain during “off” times as well. I definitely experienced this phenomenon throughout my career. Sometimes, though, ugh, to the detriment of my relationships. I guess it comes with the territory. The various strategies you outlined in the article are great, and essential! As I was reading the article, another strategy to the same end, something someone told me a long time ago, popped into my head that I thought I’d share, lol, it’s kind of obvious, but something that I found rings true every time. Basically, it’s that one should always take two week vacations… lol, when / if possible instead of shorter vacations. The theory is that for highly career-driven people, you keep worrying about work until the Thursday after you start a vacation (assuming vacation started the prior Saturday), then the next day (Friday), you start worrying about what you need to do when you return to work the next upcoming Monday. So, the point is that one week simply isn’t enough of a break to leave the job behind. Ha ha, lol, just my little theory.
Dave is right, and perhaps this won’t come as any surprise, but I am terrible at taking vacation time. As many of you can probably relate to, vacations can be hard for freelancers, because we don’t tend to get paid vacation time, and we usually have to front-load our deliverables before leaving — making the pre- and post-vacation extremely stressful.
But this year, I’m going to do it differently. This summer, Moore and I are taking (Dave, be proud …) two weeks off in order to go on The Great Queer Bat Mitzvah Roadtrip of 2023. Yep, you read that right.
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Moore’s good friend has two daughters who are being Bat Mitzvah’ed together in New Jersey, and then a week later, my niece is being Bat Mitvah’ed in Kansas City. As it happens, on the week we’re in Jersey, Asbury Park Pride will be happening! And the following week, when we’re in KC, Pride there will be happening, too! Bring on the rainbow shorts.
So, we’ll be heading out of town for two glorious weeks, driving in our new leased electric car (which we named Alyse … get it?) and navigating the eastern half of the country from charging station to charging station (the main spot I’m concerned about is West Virginia, Mountain Mama).
Since we’re doing our best to be economical (which is hard-to-impossible since life seems insanely expensive basically all the time), we will half be car-camping at camping sites (and half staying at La Quinta-style hotels).
To be honest, I’m a little nervous that I won’t do my due diligence of RELAXING.
(There’s this store in Rochester called “Wax and Relax,” which I find completely hilarious each time I pass it, because, I mean, can you get more dichotomous? Like, I don’t want to have a “wax and relax”-style “vacation.”)
But, nonetheless, I am *so excited* about this trip, even though it’s a ways away. I love adventures that pluck me out of my real life and show me a different perspective, and I find the adventure of trying to find chargers and vegan food to be kind of exhilarating. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Bat Mitzvah road trip?
I was Bat Mitvah’ed in NJ back in 1992. You might not be even remotely surprised to learn that the theme of my party was musical theater, and I performed a very elaborate lip-syncing rendition of Bette Midler’s “Miss Otis Regrets.”
(In my head, the memory of this somehow jumps from the early 90s to the early 60s and takes place in the Borscht Belt, Dirty Dancing-style. Don’t ask me why.)
I love a show.
But in the interest of taking time off, as Dave suggests, I will do my best not to check my email during that trip, and to be as firmly present in the moment as possible.
P.S. Here are some of my recent stories and interviews:
Here’s how a South Wedge barber shop became a neighborhood fixture
$1.2M expansion of local cat rescue includes surgical suite, kitten castle, and catios
Always for the animals: my Our Hen House interview with Krista Hiddema
I support you in taking a vacation!
good luck vacationing! i believe in you! i think you can do it!