I awoke in pain this morning at 3:30am. Not unusual. And however exasperating it might be to wake up under such conditions, I still felt blessed by the gifts of summer: time and choice. Because I am not working today I knew I could get up, walk off the pain, leisurely drink my coffee, and catch up on my sleep later with a mid-morning nap. My appointment with the neurologist is at 3:00pm. That gives me hours to recover and to do anything else that suits my fancy. Choice is a beautiful thing!
I’ve been thinking about choice a lot lately, especially with regard to my friends who do not have a summer break. Many have jobs they enjoy, but they seldom have a respite from their work that is long enough to allow them to truly relax and refresh. Oh, sure, some of them get every state or federal holiday that appears on the calendar, but what do we typically do with a single day off? We cram as much activity or as many “to do” tasks into it as possible. Then we go back to work the next day feeling exhausted! To truly unwind I think you have to have at least two weeks of vacation, and for most people three would be better.
Did you know that in some countries employees are required to take a set number of days off each year? In the U.S. it is up to employers to determine your vacation time, but in France and Austria and Mexico, and well nearly everywhere else in the world, vacation time is mandated by the government. If you work in France you have to have 30 days of vacation!
I’m not sure we want our government to be involved in one more aspect of our lives, but the value of vacation time is something to consider seriously. After all, our representatives never miss an opportunity for a vacation! I think many of our middle class workers would be happier and more productive with a better balance of work and play. I think it is unrealistic to think that the more time we physically spend in the work place, the more work we’ll accomplish. Some of my best thinking and problem solving takes place in my garden, not my classroom.
So…here I am enjoying the gifts of summer. No one is scheduling my time or telling me what to do. A few appointments dot my calendar, but for the most part June is a blank canvas. Let’s see what picture we paint!