Wednesday, August 04, 2010

About taking a vacation

Now the true vacation part of my summer starts -- not the frenetic activity rushing from people I yearn to visit to mountains I delight to climb, Rather, the next week or so will be, relatively, down-time, time not defined by what needs to be done, however pleasant, but by the lack of obligation to do much at all.

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about such days in her column My Day in 1937. Being the First Lady was a big job; she was thoughtful about how family obligations (or simple awareness of tasks needing attention) might fall more heavily on women.

At the last of the two teas yesterday afternoon, the couple who came through last paused a minute and the lady said: "Wouldn't it be very pleasant, Mrs. Roosevelt, to have a day without any hours in which you had to do prearranged things?" At the moment I was thinking how grateful I was that I had shaken hands with about five hundred-odd people and really didn't feel very tired, but the question started me thinking.

Of course, we all of us want days when we can wake up in the morning and say: "I can do just as I like this whole day through." There are, however, comparatively few people in the world who have the chance to do this except for short snatches of time, part of a day here and there. Men have been able to do it more often than women because when they cast off business cares they may perhaps also cast off family cares, but women, many of them at least, when they have families dependent upon them, whether they are the daughters or the mothers, can very rarely lay aside their business cares and not be confronted with a constant succession of adjustments to the wants and pleasures of others.

Of course, there are families in which the father takes as much responsibility as the mother but the fact remains that if he must have a rest, or feels that he must, the family won't fall to pieces as long as the mother or the responsible daughter is still on the spot.

So as so many of us seem to worry through life, at least a great many years of it, without having many of these "do as we please" days, perhaps the lesson to learn therefrom is that you would really miss not having the responsibilities; that having them you can look with longing at the days of freedom, and if you get one now and then, you enjoy it because of its contrast, but without a contrast it would really have no value.

Yes -- these are days to value.

5 comments:

Darlene said...

I may be abnormal, but almost every day is a day I can do as I please. Of course chores must be done, but I can put them off if I so choose.

The only contrast I have now is a trip to the doctors or grocery store with an occasional trip to visit family members in other states. I can honestly say that I still treasure these free days and I do not need the contrast of busy days to appreciate the freedom. I had enough of those busy days in my life and am grateful that I do not have to rush anymore.

sfmike said...

@Darlene: That's called retirement/having a trust fund. Jan is talking about something else. And I have about a week of exactly the same state. It's delicious.

Darlene said...

sfmike, I uderstand what you are sying. I think I am trying to say that retirement is a continuing vacation for me.

dining room tables said...

This is a good tip in having a vacation. I learned a lot of things about taking vacation. It helps me a lot. Everyone should read this very informative post.

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