Last weekend, I walked through the streets of my hometown. I hadn't been "home" in almost two years, but not much had really changed.
One thing I love about Holland, Mich. is that you can have a vacation in your own backyard. Between the beach and downtown, it's very easy to find peace, even if only for a few minutes.
I don't think I realized before this year how important vacations truly are. Aside from the obvious "escape life" reasons--I certainly don't want to be cooped up in my own mind every day all day--a vacation offers a period of rest, a time when doing not much of anything is expected.
Tim Ferriss has run with this idea better than just about anybody I've known yet. His book, "The 4-Hour Work Week", highlights this concept. We've grown accustomed to the idea of working devotedly towards retirement. This, Ferriss says, is the wrong way to look at life. He would much rather spend smaller, more effective and productive amounts of time working, and then spend the rest of his time doing the things that most people put off until retirement. By the time that comes, he says, we've grown so used to working that we can't stop.
Rest is vital. Physiologically, we are healthier and we live longer when we have less stress in our lives. At my great-grandfather's 100th birthday party, my family gathered together to celebrate and to wonder how he got to live as long as he did. We finally came to the conclusion that he spent most of his life without stress. Things just never got to him in that way. And his body responded: he lived until the age of 105.
I'm probably not the best person to offer advice on rest and vacation, as I consider myself a mild workaholic. But I'm learning to stop once in a while to enjoy the lighter aspects of life. You'd be amazed at how much enjoyment exists when you stop trying to "work through it."