Like many people who work in structured, corporate types of environments I accrue a certain amount of vacation time throughout the fiscal year. We are permitted to carry over days from one fiscal year to another, but only up to a specific maximum. Our fiscal year ends on June 30 – just a few days from now.
A few years ago, I had maxed out my hours in the spring and realized in June that I had too many days accrued to use them up. I actually lost two days of vacation that year. I have vowed to never again lose any of my accrued time, so this year I did the math and realized that I had days to use up before July 1, so today I begin to use up those days.
But what the heck is this? Vacation? Staycation? Something else?
Out of curiosity I turned to Dictionary.com to get “official” definitions. According to that website:
- Vacation is “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.”
- Staycation is “a vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions.”
If I go with those definition, my next eleven days are clearly more of a staycation. The trick here is that phrase “doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions.” Well, the latter of those two things is a bust. There are basically no local attractions open to visit.
If I take one more walk in my neighborhood I might just lose my mind. I cannot keep seeing the same sights over and over and over any longer. With the exception of the Morton Arboretum, there are no places for me to go that offer a respite from the tedious repetition of the past 14 weeks.
Then, of course, there’s that bit about “doing enjoyable activities.” I am having a hard time finding anything that truly feels enjoyable to me – or at least feels enjoyable for more than a few minutes at a time. I am certainly in favor of mindfulness, that energy of focusing on the present moment and finding joy in that moment. At the same time, it would be lovely if my mindfulness moments could last more than – well – just a moment. What’s wrong with finding an activity that can keep me engaged in mindfulness for longer periods of time?
I suppose I am sounding grumpy and a little whiny this morning. So be it. That’s how I’m feeling. Here I am with eleven days off and a feeling that there’s nothing to separate these days from the past 98 days except that I won’t check my work email for eleven days.
I am still isolated and alone in my apartment.
Oh, sure, there are things to be grateful for. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have good internet access. I have books. Food isn’t an issue. I’m well-stocked with liquor and wine. I have access to excellent music from a number of different streaming services. I have an electronic keyboard so I can play my own music if I like. Restaurants are actually starting to open up this weekend a bit more for indoor dining, and outdoor patios are already going. I am healthy and my earlier back issues seem to be mostly gone.
So, on an external examination I should be super happy to be free for the next eleven days to do whatever I like on my own schedule. Yet, I feel angry and sad this morning – not a stellar start to my staycation or my “coronacation” as I am starting to think of it.
Having vented, now I can stop and take a deep breath. I have time off and I need to use this time to get myself into a better frame of mind. I like to think of myself as a creative person, so it’s time to think creatively. If I can just release my expectation of what a “vacation” should be, then I can find ways to make this one something special.
A “coronacation” doesn’t have to be a sad experience.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.