There is no ‘right’ amount of days off
It always sucks when it’s over
I get one guaranteed four-day weekend a year, five if I want it.
That weekend is Thanksgiving weekend.
Within a couple years after my wife and I moved to Massachusetts, we had developed a routine for Thanksgiving weekend — Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut at her parents’ in West Hartford, head up to New York to my parents’ outside Albany on Friday, dinner with extended family Saturday night and then go home.
It’s an arrangement that works well for both families, since my in-laws are more into Thanksgiving than my parents, but my parents are more into Christmas than my wife’s, so we plan accordingly.
At first, I would finish up most of my work on Tuesday, then go in Wednesday morning to catch up on a few things before we headed to Connecticut in the early afternoon — and we got stuck in traffic.
Finally, one year, my wife made the observation that if I didn’t have to go in Wednesday morning, we could leave first thing and get there before the traffic really kicked in.
Worked like a charm, and then we’d come back from New York Sunday morning.
However, after having a couple Thanksgiving-weekend plans disrupted, we started going to Connecticut Thanksgiving morning (although not the virtual traffic-free bliss that is Christmas morning, it’s not too bad) and coming back after family dinner Saturday night.
But whether the trip is three days or five, on Sunday night before going back to work, I always end up asking myself, “How the hell is it Sunday night already?”
Post-vac during the vacation
When we go on vacation, we’re out of work for nine days, 10 if we decide to also take the previous Friday off.
It always starts off well. I leave work the day before vacation, excited for all that is to come. The trip has usually been planned out weeks, if not months, in advance, and we’re raring to go.
Everything is great until about Tuesday or especially Wednesday, when the realization hits … we’re closer to the end than the beginning.
My mood turns immediately worse, as I start dreading the impending end of the vacation … while I’m still on it.
Every. Single. Time.
And every single time, on Sunday night before going back to work, I always end up asking myself, “How the hell is it Sunday night already?”
I think that’s why the pleasant last-day surprise exists … because my mood is so foul, anything even halfway decent will make me happy.
And to be fair, our visits to places such as the Top of the Rock in Manhattan earlier this year are usually pretty cool.
It's sort of a tradition for my vacations that something surprisingly good happen the last day before I go home. It…www.facebook.com
Doing something, doing nothing
One thing that Thanksgiving weekend and traveling for vacation have in common is that we have a lot planned, either doing stuff or going from place to place, so a “staycation” — a whole week at home to do as much or as little as I pleased would be perfect, right?
Sure, it seems relaxing, being able to do nothing all day in the comforts of home or make brief excursions if I choose, but it never works out quite as I planned.
If I do lots of things, I wonder, “Where did all the time go?” If I do nothing, I wonder, “How could I have wasted all that time?”
Either way, on Sunday night before going back to work, I always end up asking myself, “How the hell is it Sunday night already?”
If only I could relax
Rest assured, I am aware that what I’m describing is a first-world problem if there ever was one. After all, plenty of people would love to get as much time off as I get and have the opportunities to travel that my wife and I have.
Also, griping aside, given that my usual reply when I get back to the question of “How was your vacation?” is “Too short,” I’m having a good time when I’m away from the office, believe me.
The problem is that I’m not very good at living in the moment. Even as I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I’m still thinking ahead to the next thing, and eventually, that’s life getting back to normal.
We’re planning a trip to Chicago in September. I’ll work on it.