thought being on vacation would have made my weekly writing easier. After all, the only schedule I’m
following this week is that of the tides (don’t want to fall asleep and have
the beach bag wash away!). But
blogging from paradise is actually proving difficult. I doubt that any of you stuck at home without sand between
your toes have much sympathy for me, but perhaps you can relate. Because my problem doesn’t stem from
having no time, it comes from having too much time. I’ve fallen into the vacation time warp. With nothing I need to get done, I’ve
managed to stop getting anything done.
I have yet to read a book, listen to one of the new albums I downloaded,
or write a single sentence of my current story. Yet I’ve been on vacation for three full days.
seem to be able to function on only two settings: high gear or sloth mode. And from chatting with friends, I don’t
think I’m alone in this. We’ve
learned to multi-task to the brink of insanity most of the year. Even weekend days, and, for teachers,
many summer days become do-to-list marathons. A day “off” simply means finding a new set of
must-accomplish tasks. A weekend
no longer qualifies as good unless it was productive. And even if we have an hour to enjoy a second cup of coffee
on a Sunday morning, half of us can’t really relax. We sit there racking our brains for the chore we must have
forgotten, or we feel guilty that we’re not using the time to run ten miles or
organize our sock drawers by color and style. After a few weeks, months, or years, for some poor people
who can’t snap out of this high gear trance, we finally crash like a toddler who has spent the night sucking pixie sticks.
That’s when we spiral quickly into sloth mode. Suddenly our disciplined ways are distant memories and
changing our underwear constitutes being productive. Forget multi-tasking: we watch five hours of Law & Order
simply because we are too lazy to roll over and locate the remote. This is relaxation on downers–family
and friends occasionally even stop by with mirrors to check for breathing.
pretty sure neither of these scenarios is the best way to fumble through
life. If I could overcome my
desire to be teacher-of-the-year, the cover model for Women’s Fitness, the
author of Oprah’s newest book club selection, and Martha Stewart all at once, I
might not actually need to spend three days napping on the beach to recover
after having a vacation less than two months ago. (I’m not saying I would no longer want to, just that it
would be a more conscious choice.)
I doubt any of us will look back in our final days and curse our
unorganized sock drawers, nor will we recall fondly the days wasted watching
reruns of television crime dramas.
Because what’s really important, what makes us truly happy, is usually
not found at the extremes but somewhere in between.