My supervisor is taking an extended vacation (that is beginning with the marriage of one of her sons) to do some hiking in a few of our National Parks. Like me, she doesn’t tend to vacation regularly, but this trip has been on the books for her for a long time.
There is something truly necessary about removing ourselves from the hustle and bustle of work life. With technology the way that it is today, work and home life are incredibly intertwined, making it challenging, at least in theory, to truly separate oneself from our regular, daily, experiences.
And yet, the need for vacation could never be more apparent. To think differently we need different experiences. And, the only way to embark upon different experiences is to put ourselves in situations where we are forced to live differently.
Sometimes, a vacation of a few days is enough. Other times, we really need to embark on tremendous change initiatives to get the creative process going. Part of what it means to be an effective learner is to recognize when we need these new experiences to generate new thoughts. We have to become more capable of knowing when we need a change; knowing this even before our effectiveness begins to waver.
This isn’t easy. Because often, when we say something like, “I need a vacation” we are either saying it in jest (often because something totally strange has occurred that caught us entirely off guard) or because we are way past needing a vacation, and really need some time to regroup, and quick.
One area where I need to grow is in not only taking more vacation time, but also in truly being “on vacation” when I am, in fact, on vacation. I tend to check in with work, check my email, etc. and while I don’t tend to get consumed, I do tend to do work early in the morning or later in the evening. I recognize that vacations are for family, but I still find it difficult to let go.
And it is important to let go, because even though we might find ourselves in a different place, we can still end up pacing through the same thinking, same actions, same reflections.
The beauty, at least in theory, of a vacation is that if we do it right, it can “force” us into different ways of thinking. But of course, we have to let it do that. I need to become better at letting vacation lead my thinking, rather than the other way around.