"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

27 July 2010

Summer Vacation

It seems several of my friends, IRL and online, are experiencing some form of what I will now refer to as the Summer WTFs? One cannot refer to them as the 'Summer Blahs' when your mind is anything but 'blah.' It only reaches that stage after you WTF to the point of numbness and indifference.

Adults need summer vacation.
When you're a kid, no matter how long or short your summer vacation is, it provides you with freedom and opportunities to be expressive, creative, social (or not), occasionally spontaneous and more carefree than you ever realize at the time. Once you hit high school (or if you're lucky, college -- in which case you have no idea how lucky you were/are), you get summer jobs and much of that freedom dissipates. It's still there in smaller doses, though. You're also still more free to travel -- even if it's with your family -- and goof off, because your responsibilities and ties are relatively small.
Then, you 'grow up,' get some form of job, and vacation is typically reduced to a couple weeks at most which you have to plan out in scary detail, usually not take all at once, hope that all of your plans work out, and in all that chaos actually find time to relax.
That is wholly inadequate. Pardon my language, but it's just bullshit. 'Maturing' into an adult does not mean you need less time to decompress, to be free in thought and action, to explore the world around you, to express your creativity or lack thereof, to be a social butterfly or a hermit... if anything you need more. I believe the problems with stress so many people experience in adulthood, especially in this country, stem from the de-institutionalized human need for time to deal with ourselves and our problems. Everything must be done faster, better, more efficiently, even coping with our problems and personal inadequacies. Work Harder has replaced Work Smarter and in that we have lost the time, the ability and the PERMISSION to take time when we need it. We steal cigarette breaks and long lunches where we can. We use a vacation day to deal with doctor appointments, bills, family issues and the like. We try not to use sick days (if we are lucky enough to have them) unless we're at deaths door. Why? Because jackasses creating corporate models have instilled in us that this is how we become better workers. It's not. It's also very much not how we become better people.
Even if you have a non-traditional job that is more flexible than most, you still need time off and not scattered for a week here or there. We all need actual breaks -- at least 2 weeks of solid time off, SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR -- to truly be productive, rational, sane individuals.
You may wonder why in my pop-culture loving, writerly mind I am ranting on this particular topic. Anyone who engages in a creative endeavor, whatever that endeavor may be should understand that in order to create you need to be in the right head space. While it is a modern occurrence to steal time from other 'more productive' activities (your day job, cleaning your house, running errands, etc.), even that time requires inspiration. You cannot be inspired when you have nothing to draw from and the easiest way to sap inspiration is to never be allowed a break from the (ultimately for a creative person) mundane aspects of life. In other words, to be a better, more productive artist in any endeavor, you need vacations from your normal life. Even when your normal life is creating, you need breaks from that. Spending too long stagnating in anything is not only bad for creativity, it's bad for anyone as an individual.

So if anyone out there has ideas on how to overhaul our 'vacation' system and implement a way for society to understand the physical need for breaks from life and help provide those to the public at large, that'd be really great for me.

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