What do you do with time off right now?

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 2, 2020, 1:45 PM | comments: 0

I'm making a long weekend by taking this Friday off so I can...

I don't have any plan. I mean, taking time off of work is necessary and you should always do it as much as you can. To be clear, even in "normal" times, I've never had much desire to travel during a holiday weekend because too many people are on the move anyway. But travel to me is what I equate as time off, but you can't leave the country right now, and we're even letting Simon's passport expire. You can travel domestically, but as much as I think we're getting better at infection risk mitigation, I'm not in any hurry to get on an airplane. Our best options these days in Florida are outdoor activities, which other than the beach aren't great options during the summer because it's just not very pleasant. I think there's a good chance of having some coastal time before the end of the year though.

Maybe it's easier to frame this against the things we would have been doing. We would have gone to Alaska this summer, with some time in Seattle before and after to catch up with friends and family there. I would have gone to New York at least once for work, maybe twice, which is still work but vacation-like because it's New York. We were going to play it by ear, but a road trip to DC with potential amusement park stops was under consideration. In-law/gulf coast visits, a weekend cruise, etc. would also have been likely. Then I was also thinking about how much I'd like to visit Vegas with Diana for food, shows and light gambling. We're getting more serious about international travel, but I'm not sure how you plan for that right now.

I have to challenge assumptions here. First off, you don't necessarily have to travel when you take time off. There's something to be said for not traveling. I guess it depends, as even I divide travel into "adventure" and "comfort." Walking all over a new place you've never been (or have been, in the case of NYC) is adventure and not something I come back from physically refreshed. Getting on a cruise where you're in flip-flops as soon you park the car and you can turn your brain off is comfort. But there's also the issue of what you like to do. I'm not really "outdoorsy" unless it's exotic, like Alaska or Hawaii, or I would imagine the fjords of Norway or exploring old European towns. Hiking in the mountains, probably not.

Whatever, I'm overthinking this for the purpose of a long weekend. I'm content to nap, read a book, play with the kittens and get some good walks in. But I do intend to take some week-long time off before the end of the year. We're looking at even an AirBnB kind of thing during school, where I don't actually have to take time off because we can work and go to school from anywhere. My employer has a use it or lose it policy normally (because everyone gets four weeks plus holidays), but this year has amended it to allow some roll-over because of the weirdness. Where I'm stuck is that I know I need to step away from work in a meaningful way to avoid burnout (learned that the hard way the last couple of years), but I feel like I need to get something for that time.

To answer my own question, the answer is probably to do what I've been doing all year: Make stuff. I've been doing a radio show, shipping open source software, building Lego, roughly sorting through ideas for video content, writing way more... I'm producing more than I'm consuming, and that's deeply satisfying.


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