On Friday, my husband Tyko and I are going on vacation.
We’ve rented a wonderful house in the Berkshires for ten days. We’ve rented a car. And we’ve invited a series of friends to join us for a night or two.
I’ll be bringing my computer and block out two or three hours each day to work.
So, what makes this a vacation? I’ll be cooking and working and writing. I’ll be doing what I do.
My friend Clemetin who, despite his lack of experience with vacations, had exactly the perfect answer.
Gaining a Fresh Perspective
When I told him we were going away for ten days, Clemetin said, “Your place will look different to you when you get back.”
And I think he’s right.
Clemetin’s changes of perspective come not from vacations, but from his not-infrequent periods of incarceration at Rikers Island. If you’ve been reading the New York Times recently, you might have read about the assorted abuses of inmates by prison guards.
Unfortunately, over the past six months, Clemetin has spent more than a few days there, mostly for shop lifting — a childhood career he has trouble leaving behind. (Click here to learn more about how Clemetin got started shop lifting!)
But every time he’s released, when he gets back home, his apartment looks to him like a castle. The seven windows and the door that he can unlock take on renewed meaning.
I don’t mean to imply that Clemetin thinks of his visits to Rikers Island as vacations. He most certainly does not!
But with typical Clemetin wisdom, he knows that just as his time away makes him appreciate what he has “on the outside,” so will my time away will fill me with new appreciation for my life here.
Changes of Pace Bring New Awareness
A change of pace can open your mind.
It can broaden your horizons.
And I suspect that’s why vacations matter most.
Change Your Pace this Week
You don’t have to go on vacation to change your pace. You can do it by intentionally changing your patterns. Try walking instead of driving. Try fasting instead of eating. Try reading instead of watching TV. And then pay close attention to how your normal life feels when you go back to it.
And if you actually do go away on vacation, pay close attention to the pleasure of seeing your life through new eyes when you get back home.
Think back to a time in your life when you temporarily abandoned your normal routine — perhaps a long vacation, or time at college, or a temporary relocation.
When you returned home, how was your perspective different? Tell us in the comments.