The Elusive Vacation

When I was growing up, we never took family vacations.  I watched other families leave for summer vacations to Florida and other popular destinations.  If you grew up like I did in suburbia with a stay-at-home mom, family vacations were an economic challenge at best or perhaps you had parents who’d never heard of a vacation.  We simply couldn’t afford a day at the beach let alone a vacation.  The closest we ever came to a “vacation” was a one-day trip to Ocean City, Maryland with friends when I was five—and that was for a long day at the beach and back home that evening.

Not much to report when I wrote an essay on my summer vacation. 

In nearly seven decades, I can honestly say I’ve never taken a vacation.  To be honest with you, I don’t even know how to take a vacation. I’d have to actually relax and take time off – something I’d never do.  I mean—what is that like?  I am a confessed work-a-holic.  Baby boomers are a generation that has never known how to take time off and relax.  We are a generation of relentless overachievers.  I don’t know how to put work down and enjoy a sunset. 

I have a buddy—an automotive magazine editor and editorial director for two magazines—with two previous successful magazine titles to his credit.  He doesn’t know how to put work down either.  I get emails and texts from him at two in the morning to discuss assignments.  Being a work-a-holic is an adrenaline induced way of life.  We just don’t know how to put work down and escape.  It just isn’t in us.

We are the generation that stays late and awakens early.

Sixty years ago, boomers were planning for all kinds of leisure time later on.  Retirement communities like Sun City and Leisure World went up across the country at the cusp of the 1960s.  These planned communities were built—yet because boomers have chosen to delay retirement, many of these communities have evolved into something else entirely. Let others retire…  Planned retirement communities have become a spot for “really old” people.

Vacations are something I like to think about yet never actually do.  I cannot imagine life on a cruise ship for seven days or at a resort.  I mean—what would I do with all that free time?  If I couldn’t write or watch a classic sitcom, I’d be pacing in circles like an anxious dog in the middle of a thunderstorm. I’d be anxious to get home and back to work doing what I love most. 

What do people do while on vacation?

I used to love road trips and I’ve taken my share in a lifetime.  I’ve driven coast-to-coast several times and seen sea to shining sea through a windshield. I’ve even driven from border to border. The only state I haven’t been in is North Dakota. Because the public highways have become decidedly unsafe with motorists who believe traffic laws are for others, there’s little joy in a road trip anymore. I’m tired of young people trying to kill me out there. I prefer to arrive alive.

All this said, I am up for suggestions.  What is your favorite vacation?

2 thoughts on “The Elusive Vacation”

  1. My father would wrap “vacations” around a journey he could write off. Like visiting a couple of sawmills in the far Northwest. By driving from Oklahoma through national parks and anything else he could get to off of 66. Mostly we took week-long sojourns into Colorado and New Mexico where he’d photograph ghost towns, stop into museums and the occasional historical library. “Research” he’d call it. Went to a working dude ranch in Colorado a couple of times. Drove to Washington DC, but the purpose of the trip was to see his copilot from WWII who lived in West Virginia. I recall the man’s wife had astronaut’s wife hair and he drove a maroon T-bird. I came down with 3-day measles on the way home. Got to lie in the back of the station wagon and read comic books and missed the historical markers on the way.

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