Relationship column: Vacations are necessities, not luxuries
Could you settle a disagreement between me and my wife? I want to save more money, and she wants us to take a vacation and spend our extra money. I grew up learning that is was important to always save for a rainy day, but she says we haven’t gone anywhere in three years, and she wants us to plan a trip. I say it’s a waste of time and money — not to mention that we also lose money by taking time off from work. Who do you agree with?
Wanting to Save our Money in Las Vegas
Dear Las Vegas,
I agree with your wife. The root of the word “vacation” is “vacate,” and we all need to vacate from our day-to-day lives from time to time. I do not mean to be insensitive to your desire to save for a rainy day, I’m just saying that getting out of Dodge is extremely regenerative. Here are some of the reasons why:
A vacation allows you to clear your mind, replenish your energy and to fill your spirit up again. It therefore holds the possibility of helping you to be a better, recharged you.
It is an opportunity to disengage from the demands of your day-to-day life, which is essential for anyone suffering from too much reality, routine, frustration, banality or too much of the same thing. It is therefore one of the most perfect vehicles of self-care.
Taking an occasional break gives you the unique ability to look at your life from a distance, to evaluate where you are in your life, where you’re heading, where you’re wanting to go and where you’ve been. It is one of the ways people decide to make important changes in their lives, to alter directions or to reevaluate how they are living their lives and spending their time. It therefore holds the possibility of helping you transform yourself into something more than you are now.
Going someplace new or different allows you an opportunity to strengthen the connection with your wife, to take care of her in a way that she will value and appreciate and it’s a perfect opportunity for romance.
Depending on the trip that you take — and especially if you go on a vacation to a very relaxing environment, such as a beach, a spa or a yoga retreat, to name a few — your getaway can be enormously relaxing. Who doesn’t need a bit of R&R from time to time?
Also depending on the trip, you can give yourself a gift of going to an entirely new and different culture, of experiencing song, dance, food, sights, cultural encounters, photos and other experiences that are new, different, out of the ordinary and/or extraordinary. Such experiences can be life-transforming, because they allow you to see the world in a different way. These experiences are often loaded with memories and stories that will extend well into your future.
Feel More Alive
Many people report that after they take a holiday they feel more alive, like they feel that they’re actually living rather than motoring along in autopilot.
Because you get away from your day-to-day routines, it allows you the perspective to re-evaluate your future and/or reset your goals.
Did I mention that it’s fun?
A trip doesn’t mean you have to travel far, it doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to cost much money, although it can. And I don’t mean to be overly romanticizing a vacation, either. Traveling can also be demanding, irritating, unnerving, challenging and even boring. You can get sick in places if you drink the water, planes can be canceled or rerouted, roads can be in disrepair and lot’s of things can go wrong.
But in my life experience, it has also been magical. So I, for one, am going to tell you that you simply cannot afford to NOT take a vacation.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 23rd year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777 or email him through his website: http://www.heartrelationships.com. He is not able to respond individually to queries.
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