There's a strange American nobility regarding not taking time off or not needing downtime. Rest has somehow become synonymous with weakness, and time to ourselves has become viewed as selfish, self-absorbed, or lazy, with both becoming luxuries, something allotted to a privileged or lucky few. When you combine this erroneous belief born of hyper-capitalism to the modern social media-driven culture of hustle, hustle, grind, grind, which promises to produce maximized profits, potential, and productivity, what you're ultimately left with is exhaustion, burnout, and existential despair.
So, what should you do?
Take that vacation time.
We are on this beautiful spinning orb floating in the infinite universe for one lifetime. One. And this world is filled with equally unlimited experiences, billions of people, and thousands of languages, cultures, food, music, and moments made to challenge us, develop and evolve us, or for us to revel in and enjoy - or a mix of all of them.
We weren't meant to be inside a building with artificial light and air for eight hours and in a car or public transportation for anywhere between one to four hours, depending on your location.
We were meant to enjoy our lives, contribute to the world around us, and have some fun!
So, take that vacation time. It could save your life.
Not taking vacation time or actually taking a vacation - because many Americans still end up filling their vacation time with errands and tasks, i.e., more work - leads to depression, poor physical and mental health, disconnects people from their family and friends, and disconnects them from themselves, their passions and dreams.
Furthermore, it works against the cracking whip work culture because being overworked leads to decreased productivity and increased risk of injury. So, taking time and finding time for happiness is a win-win for everyone.
If you think the workweek isn't that bad, remember these trivia facts:
- America is the only developed country that doesn't have a national vacation policy.
- Medieval peasants took extended vacations and were off eight weeks to half the year, while most Americans barely get two weeks off.
- Preindustrial Americans worked less and had more family time than the average modern Internet-age American.
- Prisoners receive at least one hour of outside daylight activity per day, while many of us only feel the fresh air and see the brilliant sun when walking into work, walking out, and through a windshield traveling home.
Please, take your vacation time - and take an actual vacation.
Go somewhere new, do something exciting, or do nothing on a beach, in the woods, or a desert somewhere. This world is yours - is ours - to enjoy, see, and explore. Don't miss out on the very thing that makes life worth living - connection, expression, and experience. And don't lose what we can never get back - time.
You owe it to yourself.
Pack your bags and hit the road.
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