I am thinking about taking a break from the norm. What I mean is I have an idea to break away from my regular routine with hopes to save my sanity and restore my soul. So, what exactly does this mean? This means that I need a vacation. Perhaps someplace warm. Yes, I think that would be nice. I could go to a place where the water is the color turquoise, the beach is filled with white sand and half bent palm trees swaying in the wind and the breeze blows by me like a dream. I am thinking of island drinks with tiny umbrellas that perch at the rim of a coconut cup with a triangle of pineapple that has been skewered and can be dunked in the white frothiness of the drink. I am thinking about the kind of time where I wouldn’t have to even wear shoes.
I am thinking about long hours in the sun with the scent of clean air, an ocean breeze and the aroma of tanning lotion on my skin. I can see myself as I swing in a hammock, lazily and content, as if to enjoy the perfection of absolute nothingness. It’s enough to make me say, “Ahh,” and close my eyes with a smile.
We need things like this. Maybe the destination would be different for some. Maybe the beach is not for everyone; but still, I’m sure you have your perfect place where you’d love to be. Am I right? We need a trip to somewhere else, to unwind, to let go and to detach from the so-called rat race we call working for a living.
Weekends are great but weekends are too short and oftentimes, weekends are extensions of the workweek. Besides, we need more than two days off. As a matter of fact, we need more than the traditional three-day weekends that arrive throughout the year which, by the way, is why they’ve invented vacation time.
At some point, we have to get away. We have to take a break and let ourselves go—even if this is only for a short while. We have to give ourselves the right to unwind, to enjoy, to laugh and play or to do nothing else but relax.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
I have been thinking about the words, “Working for a living.”
What does this mean?
Does this mean we work to live and live to work?
What kind of life is this?
Before I explain anything else, I would like to qualify that I am awake at an early hour. Most days, I am awake before the hour of 4:00AM. I have far more than one job. I work a full time position, plus overtime, as well as write a column in a labor publication. I am a life coach, recovery coach and peer specialist. I run a Sunday morning empowerment program with the possibilities of other programs resuming once the pandemic fears subside. I am currently a mental health first aid instructor, a corporate consultant and advisor as well as a content creator and wellness presenter. I am a co-host on a podcast that discusses divorce and relationships and spend at least one Saturday each month in a studio recording shows and working on new material. Plus, I am an author and daily prose writer. So, what does this mean?
Well, in all fairness, this means I am no different from anyone else in the world who is working for the option of financial freedom. I am no guru. I am not financially free. My physical and athletic ability is not enough to push me into the spotlight of a professional athlete. And, while I think I sing nicely in the shower, I’m not too sure that I’ll ever sell out any of the big stadiums. I am, by all means, a regular everyday person.
So again, what does this mean?
This means each item above is something that takes time. This means I am constantly learning, constantly evolving, always on the go and always working on something. This also means I have my share of tough days. I have my share of letdowns and meltdowns. Not everything goes as planned. I’ve missed my shots more than I’ve hit them, but I have continued the art which I am trying to master.
I am proud of this. I am proud of what I have created and the work that I do. I enjoy creating ideas to support personal connectivity and synergy in both personal and professional settings. I have been mentioned both honorably and favorably in different news publications. Plus, I have a life to live. I have bills to pay and chores to do. But more, this and my metro card are enough to get me a ride on the New York subway system
I have not been on vacation in a long time. At best, I’ve had a few short stays in beautiful places near the beach. I had a few days off to appreciate the weather or see the sun go down above the mountains that run along behind my home.
There are some people that never go crazy. There are people who never take a break. There are people who never saw what it looks like to take a drive along the coast or see the beaches and smell the air. I don’t want to be this person.
There are those who work all day. And sometimes, this is me. Sometimes, I run into myself when I walk through the door. I am not overworked nor am I a workaholic or complaining. Instead, I am merely offering the idea that self-care is essential. I am someone in search of a dream, which is why I put in the hours. I am working to piece together a trick that I’ve been building for a long time.
But I admit it. Sometimes, I have to take a step back and unplug. I have to recharge myself and let the sun beam down upon my face and feel the wind blow through my hair. I need a hot sun and a warm breeze with nothing else to think about except for maybe dinner, where to eat; would it be steak and lobster or stone crab? Whatever I’d do, I’d want to wake up in time to watch the sunrise.
Someone from California showed up at my Sunday morning empowerment group. She was up early because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Since she lived on the West Coast, she wanted to see the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean. I like this idea. This makes sense to me. This reminded me of a sunset that I watched near Imperial Beach, San Diego. The sky was orange. The colors from the sky reflected upon the rippling waves and the curved indents in the Pacific Ocean. I never saw anything like this before. And maybe I’ll never see anything like this again but at least I’ve seen this and because I’ve seen this, I know in my heart that when my work life gets too intense, I can think back to a time when the world was so beautiful to me.
The winter months are coming. New York City will be cold soon. The snow will be on its way and I’m sure the Covid and flu season will have their share of stressors. We’ll need some time to clear our heads. We’ll need a getaway. We need a date and a plan. Otherwise, we’re just working to live and living to work.
If I could go anyplace in the world, right now, where would it be?
I’ve never been there before but listen to the name.
My Father worked his entire life. He was afraid to retire because he was afraid to feel old or face the fact that he would eventually die. He was afraid to take time off because he was afraid to miss an opportunity. He left the house before sunrise and returned home after the sun went down. Most days he was tired. He was irritable. He was always in competition with himself. He was a great man but he wasn’t always around to be a great father. And by the way, it took me decades of growth to be able to say this.
On the day of my Father’s passing, I was there when he spoke with my Mother and said goodbye. It was clear that he worked so hard for her. My Father worked to support his family. Unfortunately, he worked so much that he was never around to enjoy the fruits of his labor. I think he realized this on the day he passed. In fact, when The Old Man was settling his affairs with everyone before he left, he told everyone the reasons why he did what he did; and to him, this was all worth it.
Thanks, Pop. Lesson learned.
I work hard, just like my Old Man.
But unlike my Old Man, I do not want to work so hard that I miss out on everything I work for.
We were supposed to go there once when I was a kid.
But something happened.
Someday, Pop. I’ll go.