Why can’t we live our lives as if we were on vacation? I don’t mean in an exotic location (although if that’s where you truly need to be to feed your soul, why not?) and dinners out all the time and just fun, fun, fun. What I mean is, why can’t we always live with the rhythm of vacation? This week at the beach, we woke daily according to our natural clocks (or, well, I woke according to Owen’s natural clock), instead of by an alarm. Our day progressed by what we wanted to do. We ate when we were hungry. We rested or napped when we were tired. We did our little chores, keeping the beach condo neat and the dishes washed and the laundry done. But we did it when we felt like it. And, one of the best parts is that we spent much of our time outdoors. If not on the beach, then on the porch overlooking the beach, or touring a garden in the rain (we visited Brookgreen Gardens while there). No long commutes in traffic to a stifling office for nine or more hours, then long commutes home, then trying to cram in dinner and chores and “quality time.” Just us and what felt right.
I know: Time is money. Time costs money. We have to pay for the food we eat, the roof over our heads, transportation, clothing, all the stuff in our lives that we think we need. And to pay for all that we have to work for money. But it seems that if time is all we have and we’re giving our lives for the stuff in it, is that really what we--or I-- want to do? Is that really how I want to spend my life? Is this vase or this pair of shoes or or this tote bag or even this book worth trading so much of my time and energy?
I’m beginning to think, maybe, no. It’s not. At least for me. At least not much of the time. Most of the time.
One of Paul’s reasons for moving to an academic lifestyle is for the academic calendar. Whatever you can say about the academic field, a huge plus is the schedule, and the freedom. He wants to have summers off. He wants to get back the feeling about summer that he had when he was a kid. The feeling of freedom. The feeling of vacation time.
One of my goals in making this move is to get my life back. To have a life that isn’t about working for money and buying stuff. While I may not be able to fully live according to the natural rhythms of the day, every day—after all, in the real world there are always obligations on our time—I want to get some of that feeling back. That feeling I get when I spend more time with family, more time reflecting and reading and nurturing my soul, more time in the natural world. I want to have the feeling of vacation time.
Maybe it’s not possible. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it’s a fantasy, a nice dream that can’t really happen.
But what if we really can make it happen?