Vacation makes me better. period.

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Shocking, I know.

But for me, it’s counterintuitive.

I want to work harder to be better. I may or may not have workaholic tendancies. I may be one who works, for a bit at least, most Saturdays. There may be some intertwined reasons for this, but the two main ones are:
1. I enjoy my job.
2. I enjoy being productive.

While I believe these facts are wonderful- I’m so grateful to do something I love, something with meaning, somewhere I enjoy, with people I admire- there is more to life than work. (Or so they say!) The journey toward balance started in earnest when I had stress-induced voice issues several years ago, continued with a reading of Boundaries, and entered a whole new phase with a move to the Philippines.

Enter vacation.

It’s a little crazy to live in on a (large) tropical island. Granted, it is a tropical island with terrible traffic (as evidenced by the 3-hour trip to go the ~9 miles from the airport to my house last night), but it is a tropical island surrounded by other tropical islands, complete with beautiful beaches, great snorkling, and relatively cheap vacations. So…10 of us got on a plane Monday, flew to Bohol, and spent a week relaxing.

The weekend before may have seen me almost falling apart…and sending a quick “please pray” email to my family…and trying to let go of work, for a bit at least, and truly relax. I really enjoy reflecting on my work as a teacher, thinking about what went well and what didn’t, making plans for the next steps. But sometimes, that habit is hard to pause, even for a vacation.

So I was grateful for the grace of getting away, the conversations with friends, the sitting/reading/sleeping on the beach, the incredible snorkling, and the long nights of sleep. What a gift this vacation was in so many ways.

And as I look forward to next week, I am ready. The almost-falling-apart feeling seems a long time ago, and the joy in my job is fresh again. Vacation seems more like an investment in the future than ever before and less like pointless frivolity.

Fueled up on vitamin D and sleep (and a lot of mango juice), a better teacher will enter LM-24 on Monday. A tiny-bit-wiser person will sit in this grace and let it stick like sand between my toes and be glad.

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