Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A perk of working for a not-for-profit

I'm not getting rich doing what I do, but I have an above average amount of vacation time. Between the 5 weeks of PTO I get now (which will turn into 6 in September), holidays, and comp days for Saturdays, I have a lot of time off. After a busy winter, I decided to use some.

I've had the luxury of not working for about a week and a half, and still have several days left to be a woman of leisure. I spent the first week visiting the family in South Carolina, and have enjoyed several days here in Alexandria, including a rainy pajama day.

I've had 2 long stretches of time alone in the car, some very fun afternoons playing with bubbles with a 2 year-old who recently learned the concept of both "more" and "now", saw both some great tennis and the beautiful skyline of Charleston from its harbor, pondered the quality of life differences between the mid-Atlantic region and the south, started watching the John Adams mini-series on HBO, finished this book, read this one (written by some students from a local high school), and started this one, saw Ratatouille (and wondered what the big deal was about), this movie (more on that later), saw this clunker of a movie just 'cause I could in the middle of the day, made lots of food for a party that didn't happen (shrimp and orzo anyone?), saw this play at a co-worker's church (more on that later too), had a great dinner with a friend, did a little research at a mega-church , and did a lot of what a favorite radio show called "porch sitting" -- just watching the time go by thinking about nothing of any significance. Thoughts about work have been immediately pushed aside, right behind thoughts about all of the things I should be doing versus things I just want to do.

For the first time in a very, very long time, I am both relaxed and rested. It is a wonderful feeling.

The strangest thing about it though, is that I have had the most vivid, crazy, wild dreams every single night that I've been on vacation. I thought it was from sleeping in a strange bed where you never quite sleep as well as you do in your own, and that it would go away once I got home. It hasn't. They aren't scary, but they are that freaky combination of totally random with a tie to things that actually are going on or lingering in my thoughts. I feel like I'm sleeping well, I'm just very much aware of my dreams, even though I can't remember details a few minutes after waking up.

I can picture all of my fears, insecurities, worries, and angst packing their little suitcases and borrowing sun screen from each other as they hop in the taxi from my conscious mind to my subconscious, where they are spending long days at rest to save up energy for the nightlife. As Dr. Leo Marvin would say, I'm taking a vacation from my problems, and my problems are taking a vacation from me.

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