You Should Take the Vacation

Vacation

I find it unbelievably difficult to take the vacation.

My practicality tells me that so many other things are more important than time away. It seems like the resources that a vacation requires should be spent on something more reasonable and less superfluous.

Wouldn’t our money be better spent on something reasonable and long-lasting?

The answer, sometimes, is yes. Yes, you must pay your bills and be accountable for your daily responsibilities. Of course, you should pay your mortgage before you book that beach house. Yes, you need to make sure your kids have shoes that fit before they have souvenirs from the amusement park.

But when it gets right down to it…

There’s something deeply valuable about a vacation with your people. Practicality isn’t everything, friends.

So now, as the world reopens and we’re all itching for an adventure, I’d encourage you to consider this.

Tend to your responsibilities and care for your people. Then, if you can swing it, take the vacation.

In just a few years your life will be different and your children will be older. Do you want to look back in 5, 10, or 50 years and try to remember what was so important that you didn’t take the vacation? Or do you want to remember the out-of-the-ordinary moments you made time for?

For some people, vacations may be about going bigger, better, and more luxurious. For the rest of us, a vacation is about experiencing something out-of-the-ordinary with the people we love.

If you’ve got the resources then you can go big, but you don’t have to break the bank to get away for a while.

Go camping and roast cheap hot dogs over the campfire. Take a quick road trip just to eat at your favorite pizza place that’s two hours away. Rent a hotel room in the next town over and let your kids spend endless hours in the pool. Visit family, stay up too late catching up, and then wake up early to start the coffee before the cousins are up and at it again. House sit for friends, watch their tv subscriptions, eat their snacks, love on their pets, sleep in their beds, and let their home be your vacation. Explore trails close to home, cool off in the lake, and eat dinner at a picnic table.

Will any of these things be perfect? No! Of course not! Neither is your daily life. Let go of this idea that a vacation is a sparkly thing for perfect families. Sometimes you don’t catch any fish when you’re fishing and sometimes it rains at the beach. So what? You’re still doing something memorable and special with people you love. That’s the whole idea!

There are ways to make it happen and there is no required script or schedule.

If it’s a break from the responsibilities of your day-to-day life, then it’s a vacation. Do with that what you will.

So shuffle around your ordinary schedule and create space for something different. Hype it up or keep it low-key. Plan far in advance or make a spur-of-the-moment decision. Save for months to take the big trip, scrape together a few dollars to enjoy something now, or call in sick and sit by the sprinkler in the backyard with your kids.

Just take the vacation.

Your vacation doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s not a competition. There is no award for the most expensive or extravagant vacation. Just do you and be with your people. The real prize is the break from daily life and the memories you’ll have to look back on for years.

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This article originally appeared at Happy Like This, published with permission.


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Mandy McCarty Harris
Mandy lives happily in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, young daughter, two old dogs, one crazy puppy, and ten backyard hens. She writes about living happily in the awkward middle of life, love, and parenting.