Vacation is Good for the Soul

Hi there. I realized last week as I was typing up my most recent post on sub-roofing and preparing the follow up post on the actual roof installation that things may have gotten a bit stale recently. I absolutely love getting to share the progress being made on the workshop and some of the ups and downs that come along with that work, but I also have so many other things I would like to talk about that it’s good to not get too fixated on one topic. So, all of that leads to the topic this week, vacation. Honestly, this post will most likely be about much more than just vacation, but having just gotten back from over a week in Oregon with my best friends from college, it seems like a good place to start. This was a whirlwind of a trip, beginning in Portland for 1 day, then spending 4 days in Bend, 1 day in Eugene, and returning to Portland for the final 3 days of the trip. As you may imagine, a detailed recap of a trip that long would take much longer than the typical length these posts take, so I’ll focus mainly on my takeaways from this trip and lessons I believe I am currently learning.

I haven’t always been good at taking vacations. In fact, most people (Allyson) would probably say I’ve been very bad at it. I think this stems directly from 2 key things about my personality. First, and probably most importantly, I am risk averse. This may seem like a strange thing to tie to not taking vacation, but let me explain. I can accrue a large amount of vacation and bank it every year that I don’t use it (up to a limit). If I leave my job, this vacation gets paid out to me at my current salary; therefore, I have started to view my vacation as a pseudo emergency fund for if when I decide to do something new/different from my current career. The other personality trait that keeps me from taking full advantage of vacation, is a desire to prove myself and be needed. I believe, if I’m honest with myself, that this leads me to be the person at work who is always there and is scared of being gone for too long, only for people to notice I am not required. These are traits I am only beginning to notice and deal with in myself, but the only way to grow is to take on those things about yourself that hold you back from happiness and work to overcome them. With that said…I want to talk a bit about the first true vacation I have taken in years and the growth that I hope it kicks off in me.

I’ll lead off with who went on this trip. My wife and I went with the 3 men who were in our wedding. Two of these guys are married and the third is engaged. Unfortunately, the 3rd guy’s fiance could not make this trip (she will be at the next one, guaranteed), which left 7 of us adventuring together. These folks are all great people who I look up to as examples. Examples of healthy and open relationships, of marriages that challenge each partner to grow daily, and of people that make the world a better place. We spent multiple nights gathered around the kitchen table, eating large quantities of ice cream (no regrets), just talking and sharing with one another stories of our upbringings, marriages/relationships, and dreams for the future. It was time that I didn’t realize I needed and time that I wouldn’t exchange for anything in this world. I tend to get so focused on the day to day; getting through work, completing my next project, saving as much money as possible for the future, that it is easy to get lost and forget that we, as humans, are meant to be in relationship with one another, and that by participating in positive, healthy relationships I become a better man and husband. And I would not have been reminded of this fact if I did not intentionally take the time to disconnect from work and from my phone and sit with friends in conversations about much more important topics than our jobs, or sports, or God-forbid politics. Don’t get me wrong, those conversations are fun (sometimes) and can be challenging, but I would submit we are supposed to get so much deeper than that with those we trust. Try asking your friends how they are doing, but don’t settle for the surface level answer. Listen and encourage and share your ups and downs with each other.

I realize this post isn’t “normal” in the context of what I’ve posted previously, but I hope that it is a welcome tangent and insight into some of the things that I’ve been thinking about the past week. Thanks for reading along and let me know if this has spurred any of your own thoughts.

I randomly selected this quote from a basket of notes where we stayed our first night in Oregon. I think it is a fitting end to this post.

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