Whether it’s perfectly planned, or perfectly spontaneous, vacation is a time for recreation, leisure, adventure and new experiences. Even the word itself is perfectly balanced — with four vowels and four consonants. (I counted.)
However brief or extended, a vacation alters our mindset regarding everyday concepts. Somehow, when on vacation, the regular reality of normal life no longer exists. We are in the vacation zone where normal does not apply.
Consider time. We all understand time. Monday is often the beginning of the work week. (Well, except for the Monday after the Super Bowl.) We set our alarm clock so we wake on time each morning — often so we can go to work, a very decidedly non-vacation concept. We go to bed at about the same time each night. Saturday and Sunday comprise the weekend. Time is a linear concept that regulates our days and nights.
Unless we are on vacation.
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Then, often, alarm clocks are unnecessary accessories. We wake when we are done sleeping. On our own time. Monday is indistinguishable from Saturday. Both are vacation days filled with freedom and fun! Normal bedtimes are for the working world. You are on vacation! Stay up late. Unplug the alarm clock. Live life on the wild side!
Next, consider money. We may pinch pennies during the regular, average week, but during vacation, money flows more freely. We’re more likely to eat out, to spend money on beaches, theme parks and tropical destinations. We purchase T-shirts, coffee mugs and other souvenirs that we don’t really need and won’t ever really use because we are on vacation and buying a memory feels right, somehow, in the moment.
Consider your vacation schedule. It’s created with one thing in mind: fun, happiness, pleasure, entertainment, laughter, joy, new experiences, respite, relaxation and possibly a little excess. It’s set up for you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. If you planned for the beach, but wake up feeling the vibe of a theme park, go for the vibe. If you wake up feeling something completely different — something not even on your vacation “schedule,” it’s yours for the taking.
Consider diet. During regular life, diet is a four-letter word. During vacation, it doesn’t exist. Counting points or calories or carbs isn’t part of a normal vacation. Eating is! And often, we eat whatever we want, whenever we want because that’s how it’s supposed to be during those glorious seven days known as vacation.
Consider photos. We tend to take more photos while on vacation than during our normal regular lives. We gather for group selfies and stand smiling in front of monuments, mountains or goofy statues because we understand that this is just about the best it can get – to be here with the people we love, doing the things we love. So we try to seize the moment and hold it as a memory, a visual, forever. And when we look back, we will understand that our smiles were more than smiles. We weren’t just grinning; we were beaming. We were radiating the joy of the experience.
Vacation changes things. We spend money more freely. We enjoy freedom with time, schedules, food, drink and activities. We take more photos because we want to and we can. We focus on fun — seven to 14 days out of each year. We wait for those days. We look forward to them and the attitude that vacation brings with it.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to prolong the vacation-mode point of view? (Sign me up!)
Consider this: we don’t have to officially be on vacation in order to harness the vacation mindset. Oh, sure, we may have to set the alarm and show up for work on time. But the attitude and outlook can stay on the vacation setting. We can keep it real while keeping it fun and vacay-tastic. If vacation is better than every day, why not make every day feel like a vacation? Why not do that, as best you can, 365, 24/7?
It’s tempting, right?
Allow it to be more than tempting. Live it out. Starting now. Go ahead, go for it.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.