Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Writing Lab: Vacations Are Freedom

Prompt: "Do vacations help you relax or stress you out?"

I'm one of those people that literally lives for vacations, so the idea of any vacation actually stressing me out is completely foreign to me. My answer's the same whether or not we're talking about a vacation that actually involves leaving town. Work stresses me out. Social obligation stresses me out. Having to live up to other people's expectations at all times stresses me out. Vacations are literally the permission I give myself to forget about all of those other things and just focus on what I'd like to do for a change. If stress even might factor into the equation, then you can bet it won't be part of my vacation.

Most of my vacations involve simply staying home and doing whatever it is I might have decided I'd like to do. I spend time with Seth. We cook and eat things we enjoy. We binge-watch shows we like on Netflix or Hulu. I catch up on my reading or my gaming. If I'm feeling productive, I might decide to blog a bit or mess around on social media. I'll spend a lot of time online just reading up on whatever topic I'm interested in at the time. In the past, I might have decided to sketch or draw. 

I haven't been out of town in a very long time, but back when I used to take vacations more regularly, I always chose options that would allow me to just kind of drift around at my leisure and see where my curiosity might take me. It used to drive my ex-husband nuts that I didn't believe in travel itineraries or in planning out our entire day from beginning to end. He liked structure, order, and knowing what to expect every minute of every day we were away. I preferred waking up in the morning and wandering around, deciding on a whim what I'd like to do from moment to moment. I liked not knowing for sure where I'd be eating dinner that night, what I might be doing in two hours, or what time I would be in bed that night.

That's what a vacation is to me whether you go somewhere else or not -- freedom. Freedom to do as you please in the moment with no restrictions or "have to's". Freedom to be open to different experiences and freedom to decide you're not really in the mood for new experiences after all. Freedom to make whatever decisions you like during a given time period and to change your mind completely the minute those decisions don't suit you anymore.