Coming back from vacation and facing reality is a hard pill to swallow. It may be one of the most depressing events that we willingly and repeatedly do to ourselves. We work really hard, sometimes at jobs that crush our delicate souls and are mind-numbingly dull. We save our money and hoard our vacation time. Then we’re off, like a bat out of hell, where there is no looking back, yet there is only blue skies and sunshine ahead. There aren’t any nagging bosses, or stressful unanswered emails or annoying coworkers. It’s a freeing feeling where you feel weightless because there are no responsibilities. Unfortunately, we’re like a boomerang, and we are forced to come back to the same reality we were initially escaping. It’s sad, torturous and sadly, it’s a necessary evil.
It goes without saying that I just got back from vacation, where I spent eight glorious days in Colorado. The first half of my trip was a skating competition and the back half was just pure fun. For those magnificent days, my only worries (aside from skating) were eating, taking in the fresh mountain air and just doing a whole lot of nothing. I should also point out that I think I belong in Colorado – NOT because of the whole pot legalization thing (that’s never been my thing), but because of it’s laid back atmosphere. At least in Denver and Breckenridge, everyone was happy, stress-free and enjoyed the outdoors. Nobody seemed to take his or her life for granted. Ultimately, that’s all I want: carefree happiness in a beautiful setting.
I’m not saying that my life is difficult or particularly hard – it’s not, not even close. I know that I’m very lucky for the things that I do have, and I’m eternally grateful for that. However, I am a Type-A perfectionist, who knows that things could always be better. Needless to say, I’m always looking for a way to improve upon my already stellar life. To me, perfection is like a hard-to-attain target – it’s not impossible, but it’s exceedingly difficult. Because I like a challenge, I’m always striving to hit that unspoiled, obsessive, demanding goal of sheer faultlessness.
Anyway, while on vacation, I felt like I was the best version of myself. I was happy and relaxed. I still had my quick sarcastic comments, but nothing overly snarky. I woke up every day smiling and was ready to take on the day. There was nothing that I felt that I couldn’t handle. It was empowering. In contrast, back at home in super-uptight Washington, DC, I constantly feel defeated, tired and stressed. I regularly suffer from debilitating migraines, and I battle feeling truly healthy and energetic. Perhaps, it’s the environment, as I’m also surrounded by a bunch of intelligent, Type-A perfectionists, so by default, we up ante when it comes to stress. Maybe, it’s my job. Maybe, it’s the location. Who knows?
Personally, I think my body is just allergic to all things that are not-vacation. Clearly, I need to live in a world that is a perpetual vacation that is sporadically interrupted by monotony and stress. Not the other way around.
I’m sure my utopia would get boring. I’m sure, in some way that I would miss the professional rat race. It’s possible that my high achieving self would get angry that I’m wasting my brain and my expensive science degrees on doing a whole lot of (happy) nothing. I would probably begin to feel unfulfilled, but in a different way. On top of that, all of my happiness would suck my sarcasm right out of my body. I thrive on sarcasm, and it’s a trait of mine that has only gotten stronger as I’ve grown older (and more jaded). It’d be weird to not see life through my acerbic lens. So, until I can figure out how to have the perfect life of a perpetual vacation that is both professionally and personally rewarding, I will continue to daydream and do my best to pay attention at work until this vacation hangover passes.