Monday, August 29, 2011

Vacation Thoughts

Don't worry, I won't show you pictures. These thoughts are more general than that.

The first one is that there is something very rotten about the United States: The absence of proper vacations. They are necessary for physical and mental health, for family togetherness and even for the tourism industries.

Yet most American people have vacations too short to even detox from the daily grind. Besides, the lack of proper vacations complicates the role of women in families where they are expected to organize summer activities for children, and to the extent the shortage of vacation time coincides with the general expectation of excessively long working hours, days and weeks, this shortage is also a sign of the underlying values which do not include the balancing of work and family.

The second vacation thought has to do with the great psychological benefit from just getting off the familiar hamster wheel, from seeing it from outside. Distance from one's ordinary routines can be a great blessing. It offers clarity. Perhaps the hamster wheel is a perfectly nice wheel, exactly suited to the hamster one is. Or perhaps not. Learning the answer requires the hamster to get off the wheel and vacations let that happen.

My last vacation thought has to do with both of the preceding: The prevailing values too often stand on their heads. The need for businesses and firms come first, and people's lives are slotted into the few free spaces. But in reality the businesses and firms are supposed to enable the lives of the people.