The trip to St. Croix was, as I explained to my friend, kind of like our own Jennifer Aniston anecdote. You remember back when the business with Brad was going on and she was all over the place, on Oprah and smiling bravely on the cover of magazines, and talking about how valuable her friends have been and how they’ve helped her and suddenly Men Suck and We Only Need Our Friends! became all right to actually say out loud because Jesus Christ, if Jen and Brad couldn’t make it work, we must all be in serious trouble. (In all honestly, this broohaha might still be going on because it seems the magazines just cannot let The Brad Thing go, practically knocking each other over to get the quote on the cover if she even mentions Angelina in passing.)
I’ve never understood people who “don’t believe” in vacations. You know who I mean- the people who take pride in accumulating their vacation days like gold coins, who go to work with head colds and the flu, who wished they still made Perfect Attendance Awards for the work place. “I have fifty-seven days!” They proclaim every once in a while. “I haven’t taken a day off in three years!” To which my reply is, “That explains the twitch in your eye!”
My father always takes his vacation time, always has, and no one can tell me my father doesn’t work hard enough to deserve it. Despite his 4am alarm clock, the endless meetings and conferences and frequent flier miles, he knows how to relax and continues to set aside a week or two in the summer or fall to do just that. It’s restorative, it’s “necessary,” he’d say to me. He encouraged me to go away with my girls to the Caribbean, despite my Unemployed Guilt, my pangs of “I don’t deserve to go.” Sometimes you just need to detach, take a few days to not think, to recall who you are in the best of times and how to remain that way through the worst of times. In my case, I needed my girls and they, frankly, needed me. It hasn’t been a stellar few months for any of us and I can guarantee you that every one of us is a better person for shelling out the bucks, clearing our schedules and goings- for leaning on each other, for the endless talks and bottomless cups, the ceaseless healing powers of sand and sea. And nachos. Dear God, so many nachos.
And it’s not selfish to do that. It’s not lazy and it’s not shameful, the desire to escape. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.