|Photo courtesy of Teaching@PineTree blog|
This blog is late because although my mind tried to stick to a routine, my body was still on vacation. I would like to promise that it won't happen again, but unfortunately, I know better.
You'd think that after a lifetime of taking vacations, I would have learned that the time blocked out for vacation is only part of the time that is altered by this fortuitous change in plans. No matter how hard I try to stick to business as usual, a chunk of the week before we leave is profoundly affected by planning and packing. Similarly, hitting the ground running the day after a vacation almost never happens, and no amount of beating myself up over the inevitable transition time that results improves the situation.
What is it about a routine that makes it feel simultaneously binding and freeing? Much as I love seeing blank days on the calendar, it is rare that I come to the end of them feeling as though they (or I) have lived up to their promise. More often, I look at the clock and wonder how it got to be so late, how my list remains so long and what on earth I've spent my time doing. I go through periods where I actually list what I've done all day as a means of balancing what I've accomplished against what remains to be done.
And vacations -- those wonderful successions of days where we're at liberty to fill the blank spaces with practically anything our hearts desire -- only add to this conundrum. We don't expect to accomplish anything when we're on vacation -- at least not any of the things that make up our normal to-do lists -- and it's all too easy to fall into that rhythm. Like a hammock swinging from a shade tree, lulling us to sleep on a warm, breezy day, we find ourselves caught in this new, leisurely tempo where time seems endless and everything seems possible.
Until it's time to get out of the hammock, and we land with a thud on the ground.
So, as we head back to school, I have mixed feelings. I will miss days that feel endless (in a good way) and time spent with my daughter, but I'm ready to replace the luxury of leisure with some feelings of accomplishment. Past experience tells me that by the time I grow tired of accomplishing things, it will be too cold to crawl back into the hammock, so I will start counting down the days until summer, but I guess that all depends on how much I'm trying to accomplish.
Right now, the list is long enough to keep me occupied for a while.