Among the many creations of modern man is this thing called the annual vacation. Somehow I’ve equated it with self indulgence. The Hustle takes priority. I’ve been slowly brainwashed to see any form of self care as indulgence and as evil! Vacations and holidays became something you did when you were rich. Where did that come from? Growing up I always spent summer holidays with some family member in some god awful Nigerian town anyway.
When did I start to equate vacation with going outside the country and off continent even? That is now the real vacation. This one is a holiday. So I’m on holiday. Not vacation. Or maybe we can use the modern colloquialism ‘staycation’. I stayed in the country, in town, with family. Anyway. Holiday. Vacation. Staycation. Whatever. I indulged myself and banished work related guilt for awhile.
You know I’m no Bible expert but I also read in Deuteronomy something about using your tithe to indulge yourself and family during the annual Passover Feast. Sounds like a vacation to me and sounds better than handing over the money to some sleazy pastor. Of course the Bible says different things at different times to different people. So don’t take my word do for it.
August is Nigeria’s court holiday. So for a lawyer August is holiday month too. Now that I’m in private law practice I need to maintain the same good rules of human resource management I learnt and enforced as a country program manager of an international organization. Don’t fuck with annual leave. Productivity drops. It’s not voodoo. It’s so easy to forget you’re only human.
It wasn’t easy being on vacation, it goes against my puritanical work focused socialization and my driven Type A personality. I woke up late. I stayed in bed. I read. I took long walks. I wrote. I went dancing. I did yoga. I discovered Tantra. I had a couple of brutal nights of hard partying till dawn too. I played with my friends little children. I switched off the TV. I tried to switch off the internet and my BIS but couldn’t quite. But I ignored the news. I ignored calls to save Nigeria. I ignored calls to save another victim.
I read Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, the Bible, Osho, Khalil Gibran and Paulo Coelho. I explored my feelings and wrote about love, and midlife and vacations. I spoke about critical thinking and empathy to a group of emerging young leaders, a great exercise because it reminds me to watch my own thinking and develop greater empathy. I had moments of sheer ecstasy and moments of overwhelming anguish. I pushed aside guilt.
Surprisingly, I felt very productive. I feel I’ve made progress, I didn’t always feel that way when I was busy. Now I feel clear, grounded, motivated, relaxed and excited all at the same time. Life is an adventure again. I feel a mixture of childlike dread and wonder at the thought. That light ahead could be an oncoming train or the end of the tunnel, it doesn’t matter. Keep Walking! Guilt free.