In Praise of Vacations

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then leaving work behind for a few days, even a few weeks, can help you love your work again.

I’ve been on vacation since the first of the month and much of that has been a real vacation away with family in a tropical paradise where I avoided connections to the internet as much as possible in order to keep my mind off of work. Since coming home last week, I’ve picked up a few pieces of work – tweaking a text I’ll give my seminar students to work with in September, starting to read through the two, late M.A. essays for which I’m on the committee, doing the final bits of proofreading on Star Wars and History.

I’ve been a wee bit grudging about most of this because, dude!, I’m still on vacation!, but almost everything I touched involved extremely pressing deadlines so I couldn’t put them aside for the full two weeks I’d officially ‘be off’. I suppose that I could have avoided my email inbox for the full fourteen days but the consequences would have been much more stressful come Monday that I’d prefer not to do so. Instead, I’m slowly ramping back up to full-out work mode.

To be honest, I’m looking forward to a lot of what’s ahead for the rest of the summer. I love my job and the last few years I’ve pursued some fascinating new paths in my career. I’m eager to start working on my teaching prep for the fall as I want to tweak two of the courses with some fabulous new elements (I’m planning mini-Prezi walkthroughs of key skill-building exercises for my first year class, for instance). I have an article draft to polish some more and a research plan to flesh out as well as another chapter to write from scratch as I edit the dozen others in the volume.

The nice part is that I’m coming back to these other projects feeling fresh, well-rested and armed with some new ideas that came to me during the vacation break. So I’ll be ready to dive back in on Monday, or once I finish the proofreading and essay-commenting as well as squeezing one last bit of vacation fun with my family here at home, that is!

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