Every stage in life has its pros and cons. One of the cool things people in their 50s or 60s know is what it was like to be in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. An honest introspective view will yield both victories and defeats, home runs as well as plays that could have been better. While yes, one in this stage can lament on lower energy levels and more aches and pains, you also benefit more from the flexibility financial security adds, and better decisions made from experience and learning from prior mistakes. And then there’s always the benefit of having traveled certain paths before, like how to make travel through European airports a breeze, where to go and not to go on tropical islands, etc. You are better at optimizing the time you have, which is both more valuable as you realize the window is narrowing, as well as the knowledge of how just make the most of it for time’s sake.
As I write this note, I am viewing Brewers Bay, listening to the surf crash, my wife sunbathing nearby, sailboats working the trade winds, and I am enjoying the scene and vibe of The British Virgin Islands. OK, some will say “but by writing this publisher note you’re working on vacation.” I would reply “I LOVE writing, so it’s not work.”
The bottom line is we are here for a week. There’s no rush to get in every sight every minute, we know what we want to do, what we don’t, and we have struck a balance of new exploration versus relaxation. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been to the Caribbean (largely due to decisions made in my 30s and 40s, and yes, one can debate whether that was by design or by luck) and we are pretty comfy making decisions. Plus we’ve already seen most of the high profile tourist stuff and lots of the off the beaten path stuff too. No doubt, relaxation plays a role in our vacations. It’s not a substitute for new experiences, but it’s a balancing act that works for us.
What works for you? Well, that depends on your life’s prior experiences, as well as your current life’s situation. One thing is universally true, unless you have no life and identity outside of work, using that time off for either exploration, relaxation, or a combination of the two is always better than work. Even if you absolutely love your job, you need to stop and get a break from it, especially if you have relationships with others outside of work.
The sands of the hourglass continue to pass for each and all of us. Granted, some have more sand left than others, but the concept remains. How are you using yours? It will be allocated either consciously or not. Make your choice based on desire for family time, relaxation time, adventure or exploration time, fun time, and yes, work time. Give up any of my vacation time for work time? I’m too smart for that. And you?