And we are back!
It’s been slightly less than two weeks of unadulterated break time, and I am delighted to report I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I had originally planned to take the entire Thanksgiving week off from work, but due to the calamitous wildfires up in Paradise and all the smoggy air that permeated to us here in San Francisco - a solid week of hazardous conditions, campus (where I work) has been completely shutdown since the 14th.
A sort of forced vacation, if you will; I didn’t even have to utilize any of my precious paid-time-off accruements. That said it’s somewhat difficult to enjoy such good fortune while people are dead and thousands are displaced due to the fires. Again, if you haven’t donated to our neighbors in their time of unfathomable need, please do so.
So what did I do during the fortuitous time off? Nothing ordinary. I purposely stopped my normal schedules of reading and studying, and instead enforced an extended period of mindless entertainment. It was not without some struggle: I’ve been so indoctrinated to always be learning and improving that the notion of not doing any of that was a shock to the system. Many times in the past week while watching yet another car video on Youtube, I would suddenly get the urge to be productive and think “perhaps I should pick up the book and read for an hour’.
But I successfully fought it: not one page of book was read during the great respite. As “useless” and “waste of time” as it may be to binge watch the latest series of Wheeler Dealers, the time spent away from my normal routine (including not going to work) was ultimately beneficial. I relish my job immensely, and count myself lucky to be in a position to do it, but even so, a hiatus from the monotony is absolutely critical. Europe has got it correct in that regard: countries there take the whole month of August off.
The important thing a break provides is perspective, and being able to detach from the regular situation. During the time off while enjoying the slew of non-productive activities, I regained appreciation for the usual work I get to do, and gratitude for the life I am currently living. Countless others aren’t able to simply paid to stay home for a few weeks; that thought alone is humbling enough.
So I’ve returned, refreshed, and ready to attack. At least for the next four weeks until it’s time for Christmas break again. I do love this time of the year.