Vacation All I Ever Wanted

The headline of this is actually incredibly false, but who in their 20’s doesn’t remember the Rugrats episode where Angelica does a rendition of The Go-Go’s in Vegas?

On New Years Day, I wrote down a list of 14 goals for myself that I wanted to accomplish within the next calendar year. Some of them were pretty typical: Eat healthier, call parents more. Others a bit less typical: Win a Fantasy Baseball Championship.

But there was one goal in particular that my eyes kept focusing on when I reread everything minutes later:

Minimum of one consecutive week of vacation

For a lot of people, this isn’t a particularly rare nor difficult goal, but for me it is. I suck at taking vacations.

As weird as this may sound, I’m not sure I know how to truly take a vacation, but I’m excited to try to learn this April on a 9-day trip to California with my girlfriend.

Part of being bad at taking vacations comes from the fact that my parents are awful about taking vacations. The only vacations I went on as a kid were to Florida or Williamsburg, Virginia, and they haven’t taken one in more than a decade.

They don’t travel much, and it rubbed off on me. I’ve been at my current job for two and a half years, and I haven’t taken more than two consecutive weekdays off. Most of the rare days off were for a Penn State football game, which while fun, isn’t really a vacation.

Not great at planning. Bad at committing to them. Worse at actually disconnecting during them. There was a time last summer where during a Friday off, I habitually responded to an email, and my boss jokingly yelled at me.

I don’t write this to appear ungrateful nor insult my parents because they’re great. There’s plenty of kids growing up who would kill to go to some place like Disney World or Busch Gardens. I’m also not trying to say my work ethic is better than others for not taking vacations because it isn’t.

It’s actually something I feel quite bad about and wish that I could change about myself.

Everyone has a different definition for what vacation means to them. I had dreamed about taking what I believed to be a real, true one forever but could never pull the trigger.

Now I have someone to help encourage me, and that’s why I’m making this my first post on Medium: To hold myself accountable to me and whoever comes across this post.

Very few Slacks and emails. Turning notifications off on my phone.

I will inevitably check my Fantasy Baseball teams once a day because it’s the beginning of the season, and I know I’m going to be excited, but other than that, I’m gonna try to unplug for the first tine in my adult life.

Truth be told, this is happening at an ironic time. I probably could have used a vacation around this time last year. January through mid-February 2016 was what I am convinced will be the most stressful month and a half of my adult life.

I remember talking to a couple friends at the time who all reiterated “You need to take a vacation when this is over,” but I mostly shrugged it off.

“What are you going to do?” they pressed. “Just hope stress magically goes away?”

“Maybe,” I said.

That’s a bad means to an end, but in time, it did begin to go away.

I’m following through on my goal of eating healthier. I’m exercising regularly more than I have in years. I’ve always loved my job, but I’m in an especially great groove at work. I’ve slowly cut some people out of my life who were having any type of negative impact on me.

From a mental health standpoint, I don’t need a vacation at all, but you better believe I’m damn excited to travel the state of California:

Two days in San Diego. Two in LA. Four in SF and Big Sur.

I’ve always wanted to see the west coast. San Francisco in particular is a city I admired from afar where if I didn’t live in New York, I’d probably be there.

What the trip consists of, I’m really not sure yet. I know my girlfriend has a couple of tours booked. My only requirement when planning it was that I wanted to see a baseball game in one of the cities. I don’t know what else I’ll do out there, but more importantly, I know what I won’t do.

For the first time, I’m going to unplug. I’m gonna take a vacation.

Only after I do it and return from the trip will I physically take pen to yellow paper and cross it off my list of goals, and when I do, it will be the most satisfying one yet.

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