According to Project: Time Off research, Americans waste 658 million vacation days every year. Not using earned days off is attributed to technology; being connected has decreased workers ability to break free from the office.
I’m guilty. When I retired from my last teaching job, I had 35 unused vacation days from six years of employment. It was grand to get money for those days, but for many, you lose them if you don’t use them. Allowed vacation days or hours don’t always roll over to the next year. For me, going to work was less stressful than preparing detailed lesson plans for a substitute. Also, I didn’t have extra funds for more than one annual trip, so I worked.
We do need to take time off. We might think we are superhuman, but we are not. We have limits.
Most people also have relationships needing some dedicated time. How about homes and property requiring regular maintenance? We don’t need tickets to the Bahamas to warrant a few days of R&R or simple catch-up on tasks or sleep.
Most people, working, retired, young, or otherwise, will agree time is a highly needed and valuable commodity. Money can’t buy it, prayer can’t get it back, and we can’t save it at the bank.
Like money, the best way to get more time is not to spend it. Balance, essential to life in general, also applies to money and time. We all get 24 hours every day, or 1440 minutes. Somewhere in the spending of those hours and minutes, we need time off — downtime — disconnected time.
Even retired, I don’t have enough time. I run out of time to sleep, clean house, read, cook, pull weeds. I think, “I have all day,” and before I know it the day is dark, and I turn around, and it is a new month or a new year.
You are likely not so different. We all need to work mindfully toward what we want in the future.
I’m trying my hand at writing a novel, and every setting or chapter needs to move the reader toward what the protagonist desires. We need to do the same with our lives. What do we wish for at the end of each chapter in our lives? How do we move closer every day to what we want at the end of our story; good health, improved skills, intimate relationships, etc.?
Maybe, just maybe, taking time off or slowing life from a sprint to a stroll, could help us find and follow a path to our desired success.
Just a thought.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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