vacate the premises

Posted on July 25, 2007


Two ladies in a canoeHave we all heard enough from the self-proclaimed workforce martyrs who whine about how the company cannot possibly spare them for a four-day weekend once a decade? It’s great to love what you do; it’s not so great to be scared to turn your back on it. That does not speak of confidence, y’all.

And now comes productivity-related proof that you need to take that vacation you’ve been putting off. If you’re between jobs, you need it more than ever because jobhunting is tough if done right, and important enough that you really, really want to do it right. A bad mistake in a jobhunt can easily cost you five or more years of misery and chronic poverty. If you wanted to be miserable and poor, why would you take the job in the first place? You can be miserable and poor without a corporation’s help.

In any case, the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconson has released a study which shows that women who take one or two vacations a year are less likely to experience clinical depression than those who take one every two years. Interestingly, marital satisfaction decreased with decreased vacations as well. Hmmmmmmm.

Joblessness, rootlessness, and poverty are themselves isolating and depressing, so I want you to think long and hard about this.

Do you know someone who lives in a completely different environment from you, even if it’s just Richmond? Can you do a house swap for a week, house sit while they’re away, or couch surf in exchange for babysitting? A possible vacay exists for all budgets. Share a campsite in a Provincial Park (very inexpensive if you have the bus drop you off and just walk in), and get the gear on Freecycle. Go back to the farm you couldn’t wait to escape when you were fifteen, or apply for a job as a parks warden. You never know.

Time away, and particularly time spent accustoming yourself to other people’s rhythms, can be a very powerful, yet subtle force that busts you out of ruts you didn’t even know you were in. I lived it, yo. You see the world as if it is new, with fresh eyes. This is why so much of great literature is really travel literature; inspiration and insight comes to us when we are in unfamiliar surroundings, living fully and seeing deeply as we search for clues and adapt creatively to the changes around us.

When you go home, you see your own home with those refreshed eyes, and you have the restored strength to make those changes which seem proper and necessary to you.

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