Monday, December 9, 2013
By KJ DELL'ANTONIA
In honor of high summer, I offer a few things I'm feeling glad I've read as we contemplate our family vacation.
I think my husband memorized this; he keeps quoting it at me: Matt Richtel on "Vacation Sabotage: Don't Let It Happen to You!":
Is there a way to get the most out of a vacation? Or at least not to ruin it? Can one avoid the seven-day trap: three days impatient to be relaxed already, two days actually being relaxed, and then two final days of dread before going back to work?
As it turns out, yes. The secret to not killing your vacation revolves around understanding not just your motives, but also your brain and the role it plays in undoing your precious time off.
His favorite part: Permission to turn off the email that I always insist I can't leave behind.
Vacation strikes me as a great time to meditate on how busy we really want to be by reading "The 'Busy' Trap" by Tim Kreider:
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration -- it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
Inform this one with Hanna Rosin's "The Busy Trap: Is It Ruining Us All?" and Rachael Larimore's response "In Defense of Busyness" ("Busyness is a privilege, not a burden"), and you might want to reread it when fall sports sign-ups start filling the in-box you did not read while on vacation.
Room for debate: "Are family vacations worth it?" Should you put your dollars into a family trip, or an adults-only getaway? We've made that call for this year, but I can't wait to see the follow-up debate: "What's the best way to farm out your children for a weekend: family, friends or paid help?" (I made that up. You'll have to debate that over the kitchen counter.)
Not lugging your camera on that family vacation? Here's an action photo tip for the iPhone: It takes the shot when you take your finger off the button, which means you can frame the space where the amusement park ride will appear, then snap.
Contact KJ Dell'Antonia at: