Everyone who knows me knows I’m a hustla…a go-getter…[insert other appropriate hip hop titles]. I am 24 years old and the last real vacation (0% work and 100% play) was in high school. In undergrad, while my friends were enjoying their Spring Breaks, I opted to work for half at my Resident Assistant job for half the week and then go home and sleep. And when I say sleep, I mean I didn’t wake up until 3pm and I didn’t go anywhere the entire break. As a teacher, even when we had school-wide breaks, I never went anywhere. I can count on one hand how many sick days I’ve taken off. In the last 6 years of my life, I have worked myself to the breaking point unnecessarily. All the while, people around me were taking days off and going to on lavish vacations across the world.
Up until a few days ago, I was content with the way I was living. Then, on my long drive to my winter internship on Christmas Eve (pathetic, right?) it occurred to me that I don’t have to live this way. This revelation came due to one main factor: In the Spring, I turn 25! The realization that I spent the first half of my twenties slaving away is quite sobering. My adventures, as great as they have been, are limited and I have not done many of the thing I thought I’d have done by now. (I’ll have a post about this later).
I have been to only 5 out of the 50 United States and I never go anywhere. For a while, I thought maybe I was crazy or perhaps just a boring person for never using my vacation time. I now realize that I am neither. I was simply being complacent. However, I know that if the status quo remains, I will look up one day and realize that I’ve worked on my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that’s the point of no return.
I had to examine why it is that I don’t take time off. I think part of me likes self-imposed suffering…it sucks but it makes me look like a hard worker. I’m having to let go of trying to please others. At the end of the day, I’m the only constant in my work career. Bosses and colleagues will come and go. If I don’t take care of myself, I’m going to burn out before I reach greatness. That is not an option, so I’m taking next year…and the year after to slow down and take care of myself.
I once told a friend that I hope to travel across the world someday. He replied that he never understood the concept of wishing and hoping. His advise was to:
“Get up and chase it realistically.” – Funfere Koroye
This year, I have no option but to do just that. A few of friends off-handedly mentioned that I should come visit. I think they’re going to be surprised to see me on their doorsteps, with suitcase in hand. And I’m going to enjoy myself without feeling guilty for taking some much needed vacation time. I’m going to be Timi-the vacationer, not Timi-the teacher, or Timi-the teaching assistant.
As I look back at 2013, I harbor no bitterness about my wasted vacation days. I look to it as a reminder that my life is not about building my resume or about proving my competence. It’s about securing my happiness, loving others, and living the life God has blessed me with. I am start doing these things, and when they become second nature I will take myself out to lunch and congratulate myself.