Lindsay T Shelton

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Posted on September 25, 2020  •  3 minutes  • 582 words

Placeholder Actual photo of me contemplating how cool waves are.

Burnout is a disease we are all capable of catching. It’s one I battled for years as a teacher, and while I hadn’t yet caught it in my new career, I could feel it lurking much sooner than anticipated. It isn’t that I’m unhappy or unfulfilled because I’m neither of those things – I have new challenges (that I’m capable of meeting) every day and I learn new things constantly.

It’s just that there’s this other thing. You know what the thing is. It’s the world around us. It’s not even just about the whole pandemic. It’s the hatred and the politics and even things as seemingly innocuous as gender (which is a social construct) reveal parties causing untold destruction. Every day 2020 seeks to outdo itself.

So, I went on vacation. Other than my yearly float trip treks, I don’t remember ever being so excited for a vacation. Sure, I was flying during a pandemic into a state that has even less control over their COVID cases than my own, which wasn’t exactly the most relaxing part of the trip. However, that all fell away when I got to my destination and got down to relaxing.

On vacation, my only obligation was deciding what I wanted to drink. On demand, I could be handed my nephew, a beautiful five-month-old who loves to stare, jump in his jumper, and drool more than I thought was possible. I had endless chats with my best friend of over thirty years. I got to dance in the waves (only a few takeout daiquiris were involved).

Sure, we donned masks and only ate at places with outdoor patios and got rained on a few times in the process. Yes, I’ve had to quarantine before and after my trip, putting a damper on own my birthday celebrations that were already pretty dampered by the whole pandemic thing. Yes, I had to learn the hard way to not eat Fritos at the airport when you are going to be in a mask for the next six hours.

I know travel isn’t safe for everyone, as I have immunocompromised relatives and my family has also been affected by COVID. My vacation doesn’t have to look like your vacation. However, I realized that it is SO important to take some sort of break now. We are all undergoing a collective trauma that is both somehow incredibly condensed and yet feels neverending. We need to take care of ourselves and find a way to take a break of some kind. Find a few days to get yourself in that mindset of only worrying about where your next drink is coming from. Find a way to have an adventure, even if that adventure is socially distanced and very responsible.

Now before you go scampering off to plan that break, I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you of the most real danger I encountered as a part of my vacation. It’s the vacation comedown. It is real and hard and turned me into a Grumpy Gus for a few days. Also, there’s a pandemic, so of course you must make careful safety considerations for yourself and your family. However, I can now take a mini-vacation every time I look at those pictures of me dancing in the waves, and the reward of time spent with friends was well worth the risk of traveling and having to come back to the real world.

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