Vacation day: a day in which no tasks related to one's employment are required or expected to be done.
Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay
As I write this post, it's nearly 8:30 p.m. If you're a regular reader, you know that happens a lot, and usually because I'm grading papers or doing something school related or, perhaps, I was struggling to come up with a topic.
Today, none of the above is true. I wrote the first line of this post around 10 this morning, but opted to spend my day in other pursuits.
I took a vacation day. And it felt wonderful. Not only did my day live up to the definition at the top of this post, but it had an extra layer of relaxation baked in. I turned in my grades for the summer session on Saturday so not only were no job-related tasks expected or required, none were standing in the background, staring me down and waiting to be accomplished either.
I've been waiting for this day for a year and a half.
Sure, there's plenty to do. It would even be easy to fall into planning for fall, but I did that last summer, and it wasn't one of my better mental health decisions. So, I promised myself that this summer, I would "take ten days of vacation," not including our beach vacation scheduled for late next month. I may take more, but I won't take less. That's a promise to myself. I even went public with a friend last weekend so I'd be accountable to the promise I made.
What will I do on these magical days? Whatever I want. Yesterday (not a vacation day because it was Sunday, which was already supposed to be a day off), I put together a table I'd ordered, which jump started a paper-and-reading-material sort I've been wanting to do for months. I thought I'd get back to it today but instead, I read -- what I wanted for as long as I wanted. I tied up a few loose ends and then I went shopping with my daughter, who also had the day off. I might do some more sorting tonight. Or I might do something else entirely, but it won't be professional reading, grading papers, or planning for fall.
Do I sound spoiled? Maybe I am. But, you know what? After the last year and a half, we ALL deserve a little spoiling. And frankly, I'm finding it a bit sad that I have to actually set parameters (no, I will not answer work emails today) in order to fully engage in a day off.
I'm not alone. More than half of Americans don't use all their vacation days and countless more work while on vacation. And most teachers I know (myself included) are a member of that second group. If Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back, we can bring vacation back.
One summer day at a time.