About 4 years ago I took my first luxury vacation. I treated myself to a trip to Puerto Rico for a few days, stayed at a luxury resort, bought anything I saw that I wanted without worrying about cost (I just needed to try that once in my lifetime), and toured most of the island. It was a wonderful experience!
Prior to leaving, I was chatting with Sanchez and told her of the gift I was giving myself. She was immediately happy for me. She mentioned that one of the mistakes that her fellow activists made in their younger years was the over-emphasis on work and their lack of appreciation for the value of retreating. In the 60’s, to not work tirelessly was to betray the revolution, to sell out the community, they thought. Sanchez warned me of the dangers of such attitudes. What is the point of getting older if you’re older and run down? Our chat reminded me of a quote from an aged Sammy Davis, Jr. (and I’m paraphrasing): If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger.
Though I am a recovering workaholic who relapses into all-nighters from time to time, I still believe that we benefit if we disconnect from our demanding schedules to retreat, rest, and replenish. Intellectually, it’s a logical thing to do, but our guilt and/or competitiveness gets in the way. Work and being busy, for most of us, is a badge of honor. Our self-esteem is wrapped up in how hard we work, how many hours of sleep we didn’t get, and the fact that we’re on email at 4:00am. My generation – and the one after us – seem hell bent on always being “on.” More than one person reading this, sleeps with her or his BlackBerry, laptop, or books by their side. More than one person reading this has felt this peculiar sense of “disconnect” when, let’s say, we’re away from the computer, left the PDA at home, or the system is down. What do we matter when not logged on?
We have a greater capacity to bypass the username/password routine than we give ourselves credit for. And I say concepts of vacations and retirement are overstated. Better to re-create life-long schedules that mirror the natural order of work and retreat, production and rest.