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Monday, July 11, 2005

My favorite week...


I am about to have my favorite week of the year. How do I know this? Because the what takes place this week lead to maximum renewal for me.

Tomorrow, I leave for a week in the mountains with my oldest son. We will spend a week at a lake in the Sierras, 8,000 feet above where we live, away from work, cell phones, interruptions, and time demands. For one week, the major concerns of the day will be where to fish, what to make for a meal, what we will read together (or separately), and who will be the Grand Champion of the Year in our annual week-long Uno tournament.

We started this tradition in the summer of 2000, when he was 7. While my father and I were not close, one of the great memories of my childhood was an overnight camping trip he and I went on. I wanted to give my son the same great memories that I had (with a much closer relationship with his father).

Last year, my schedule did not allow me to take this trip. This and that came up, and before we knew it the summer was over. What I thought I missed was a week in the wilderness with my son. I came to realize that I missed so much more. I had missed a "Sabbath-time."

On Ethos, Randy recently wrote about the sabbatical he was taking. He cites experts who say, "workers need to wake up, look up from their cubicles and make [their] dreams happen. An extended break is more realistic -- and necessary -- than most people think. Studies show that many "vacations" turn into time to catch up -- allowing little time for reflection, rest and personal growth."

Many of my vacations are just that. The week leading up to the vacation is like a week-long cram session, trying to do two weeks worth of work in one. Then, our tribe of four packs up and drives to some destination. We live in suitcases for a week, always on the go. Inevitably, someone from work needs to speak with me about something. We squeeze every minute out of our away-time, returning just in time to grocery shop for the coming week, wash our dirty clothes, and get ready for the workday that follows. I often feel like I need another vacation to recover from my vacation.

Now more than ever, I am in agreement with Randy that it is important to take true sabbatical time. Time to rest. Time that is unhurried. Time to reflect and grow. While a longer sabbatical is optimum, I believe that shorter ones on a regular basis can be just as valuable, provided that they are truly sabbatical in nature.

If you haven't had any time off lately, take some. Not to go somewhere, necessarily. Not to do anything special or get to that project that has been left undone. Take time off to just recharge. You need it. You may think you do, but you do.

Quoting from the article on Ethos, "We need to understand leisure; it is essential for our well-being," Hall said. "Going through life without adequate time for rest is like running a car without getting an oil change," said Marta Kagan a small-business and life coach based in New York.

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