Summer makes us think of vacation. When were little this time of year signified the end of work and the beginning of play. Our vacation was built in. And it was glorious.
Now as adults, the burden is on us to schedule and make room for our play time. It needs to fit into our allotment of paid time off and be stamped with approval. Not to mention that we need to remind ourselves that we actually deserve a vacation and should take every bit of time due to us.
Those who know me are aware that when it comes to enjoying life there are two things I take rather seriously – food and vacations. So as you can imagine, my recent trip to Sicily was quite satisfying. The ultimate art of indulging!
I began planning the trip for me and my husband over a year ago, saving the money necessary for the splurge. I tallied up my time at work and made sure it was marked on the calendar. Italy has a special place in my heart, but Sicily was new territory I wanted to mark. And I had that itch to not only get out of the city, but get out of the country. Sometimes foreign territory can be the most refreshing.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Italy – the fresh and delicious food, the lively and charming people, the musical language. La Dolce Vita is very seductive. It starts to convince you that there really shouldn’t be anything better to do that sit at a café sipping espresso or vino watching the world go by. As a tourist we have that luxury. Enjoying the simple pleasures minus the typical distractions reminds us of what truly makes us happy and is actually good for our mental health.
Not long before this scheduled and carefully planned trip I found myself suddenly under-employed. I had no choice but to question if it was wise or responsible to still go on such a trip. But a familiar voice reminded me – “Life is short. If it makes you happy and you can do it now – do it.”
For the past 15 years I’ve adopted such a philosophy. Perhaps it was something I inherited from someone who seemed to realize this – that life is not only short, but that it can be made even shorter. A work hard / play hard type who didn’t make any excuses for when he wanted to explore foreign territory such as Spain, Peru or the Amazon.
So I told my husband – “We deserve this vacation. And we deserve to know that we deserve it.” And when I was sitting on the steps of a small southern baroque Sicilian town eating my first true gelato in years, I knew that was exactly where I was supposed to be - in my own little world for those few minutes, not worrying about work or money or horrible world events.
This summer, I ask you to make sure you take the time off you deserve. Whether you go across town or across the world, do something that brings you back to the purity of just existing. Work and real life will always find its way back to you. But it the meantime, say yes to that gelato. Triple scoop!