Recently a friend asked me if I was getting excited about our upcoming vacation. I was a little surprised to be asked that; why should I get excited? What is there about a family vacation to get excited about? I shrugged my shoulders and said, “No.” He looked puzzled and mildly disappointed.
In reflecting on this exchange, which was clearly unsatisfying for both of us, I recognized some fundamental differences in our perspectives. As the primary breadwinner in his household, my friend holds down a full-time job at a place of business; when he goes on vacation, he doesn’t have to go to work. Whatever he does on vacation, it’s guaranteed to be entirely different from his usual daily/weekly routine.
When I go on vacation, my job comes with me. I still have to work, doing what I do every day. The setting and circumstances are different, but I’m still responsible for making sure people get up, get dressed, and get where they’re going on time. I still have to plan meals, even if I don’t prepare them or clean up after them. I still have to coordinate transportation and schedules, and I still have to enforce rules and arbitrate disputes.
This isn’t a bad thing; a change of scenery can be refreshing, as can a change in routine. But it hardly qualifies as “getting away from it all” when you bring most of it with you, now, does it?