I've never been great about taking vacations, especially as a freelancer when every hour is a potentially billable one. Over the past year - actually since moving to Austin in early 2010 - work-life balance has been one of my priorities.
This holiday weekend, I'm not headed on a jaunt to the islands, to a cabin in the mountains, or on my dream Alaskan cruise (whale-watching!), but I am disconnecting from work and work-related marketing tasks for the weekend. I have a great stack of books to read, my air conditioning works really well, I plan on taking lots of naps (had a good one this afternoon, falling asleep on the couch with a book open on my chest), getting some things in my house in order, re-organizing my home office space, maybe doing some housekeeping on my own personal sites (not really work-related, but I know that one is a stretch), taking the dog to a dog park for some running around and ball-throwing, and sleeping until my furbaby wakes me up instead of the alarm.
Right now, this is the vacation I need: taking my brain to a new creative space, writing for personal gratification instead of professional gain, taking my body outside for some people-watching and dog-bonding, exploring a few parts of the city I haven't seen yet (yes, I've been here a while but there's lots to see in Austin), and reading for pleasure instead of research.
I might even break out the Moleskine and colored pens and do some actual handwriting (can't remember the last time I went there, but my Moleskine dated pages says it's been too long). And I'm charging my camera now in case I feel like wandering around and snapping a few pictures of this crazy city in which I live, maybe find some interesting things off the beaten path, strike up some conversations with strangers, re-set my internal clock. It's not the Caribbean, but it's what I need now - and bonus: it's all here in a 10-mile radius.
I hope you're getting out - of town or in - and doing some exciting things this holiday weekend. And I haven't forgotten why we have a three-day weekend and plan on including some thoughts on gratitude and respect for the brave people who have sacrificed so much to make our country a better place (you can't see it, but I'm waving a tiny American flag right now). For those of you spending the weekend with your families, be grateful. I'm thinking about mine far away right now after having a marathon phone conversation tonight with my older sister, who I know will have the family over for a barbecue on Monday and I'm going to miss out on the chaos and laughter.
Love you, mean it.