At the end of a hard, rewarding year, there is no better feeling than taking a long relaxing vacation. However, on the heals of such a vacation, I always find it difficult to get back into the mindset of work.
During the year, my disciplined exercise and work schedule helps keep my mind sharp and my attention focused. During vacations, all that goes out the window. My vacation schedule usually includes sleeping in, eating too much, and no exercise whatsoever. I almost never know what time it is, or even what day it is. On top of that, lots of relaxing time with older siblings and hometown friends never fails to revert me back to the social norms of an awkward teenager. My computer skills also slip – when I sat down at my computer to write this entry, I had to stop for a second to remember how to type. My fingers still feel slow and clumsy on the keys.
A week of vacation essentially turns me into a different person. “Vacation Andrew” is relaxed, easy going, and carefree. Unfortunately, he’s also decidedly unemployable.
It usually takes me about two or three days to revert back to my normal self, which is why I sat down this afternoon to re-read through my last week of emails from 2012 and start thinking about the challenges to be faced in 2013.
As I sat down to review my email (still in full vacation mode) something weird happened. It took me about twice as long as it normally does, but I was able to take away much more. I pulled out at least three important patterns and themes that I had completely missed when I read my email before the holiday break. Further, I felt these patterns and themes take root quickly and flower in my unburdened mind. I was able to make new connections freely and think deeply about the challenges ahead. It was also easy to dismiss old stale conventions and ideas from 2012 – even ones that I had personally invested in heavily last year.
Coming out of a vacation is always hard. I have to spend multiple days re-engaging with my job, remembering what it’s like to be disciplined, reverting out of hometown social norms, and re-overcoming inferior birth order. However, from what I can tell, this process is healthy. It gives perspective, permission to abandon old ideas, and an overall new lease on life.
I suppose sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.
Happy New Year.