vacation values.

Friends! I missed you! I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since the last time I posted! That’s a new record, and I’m not sure I ever want to try to beat it : ) As nice as it was to be away, this blog is super near and dear to my heart, and I don’t like the way it feels to get too far away from it (even if other projects are set aside temporarily).

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First of all, let me just tell you how hard it was to keep last week’s vacation to myself! As you already know if you follow me on Instagram, I spent the holiday at a resort in Turks + Caicos with family, but since my sisters didn’t know that Matt and I would be joining them until the morning of our flight, I had to keep it totally under wraps. I’m not always the best at keeping secrets (even though I love a good surprise), but since the vacation was planned about a year ago to celebrate my sister’s recent high school graduation, we thought it would be fun to create a whole story about how Matt and I couldn’t get away from work and would have to miss it (adulting, amirite?). Typically, we’re not able to go on big vacations like this, but since the dates fell around the Fourth of July, Matt only had to take three days away from the office, and I was able to plan my schedule around it, too. The whole thing fell into place perfectly and we were able to be part of it, which was really special. We surprised my sisters at 7 AM Saturday morning in the gate at Newark airport wearing crazy patterned visors and pineapple-shaped sunglasses (I wish I had a photo, but I was too excited. Bad blogger, bad blogger!). From there, it was seven days of sun (too much), drinks (also too much), reading, and relaxing. And that water!

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As I mentioned in my little out of office message, this trip was the first time since last September that I actually unplugged for more than a day with absolutely no work. I didn’t even bring my laptop with me! The WiFi at our resort ended up being really spotty, so I wouldn’t have been very productive even if I’d tried. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, though, I’m so happy that I decided to be proactive about setting that down time for myself. There’s so much value in taking a real vacation, and the past few days were an amazing reminder of that.

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Ever since I went out on my own and started working for myself, I’ve been harboring this (totally unfounded) guilt about taking real time off. Honestly, I’ve felt kind of undeserving and insecure about the whole thing. This isn’t a cue for anyone to jump in and tell me that I do deserve it or that I have been working super hard. It’s just a little dose of real talk that I’m ready to share with you more openly now that I know how wrong I was.

Managing vacation time is always going to be a challenge for me. I felt guilty about using my vacation days even when I was working for a huge company (where taking advantage of that time was part of a great culture of work/life balance), so it should come as no surprise that I haven’t been jumping at the idea now that I feel this additional pressure to perform and prove myself — and, quite frankly, to earn money! Now, more than ever, my time equates to a dollar value, and since I’m pretty competitive, I don’t like the feeling of walking away from hours I could be spending developing my own business. Even more than that, I like to be present. In my corporate life, I hated the idea of missing out on things at the office, or of my team realizing they could function without me. I prefer to be engaged, to be knee-deep in a million different things.

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BUT, here’s the thing. It’s just as important for me to be present in my personal life. I need to be engaged with my relationships and with myself. I need to be knee-deep in a good book, a great meal, a hilarious conversation. And while it’s impossible to be on vacation all the time, taking some real time away from work reminded me how good it feels to do those things. I prioritize my family and friends year-round (sometimes to the point where I’m totally exhausted), but taking some time for myself this past week helped me restore a little balance and made me feel like I actually can handle the many moving pieces I’m working with. Doesn’t it feel good to remember that you can actually do it?

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Everyone deserves a vacation. Whether you work for someone else, or for yourself, or for your kids as a kick-butt stay-at-home mom, you’ve earned it. I want to be the kind of person who can learn to see the value in time spent outside of the usual routine, the kind of person who doesn’t feel guilt about doing it.

Who’s with me????

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