Last week’s spring break was definitely different from spring breaks past.
Fifteen (or so…) years ago, spring break was some unknown number of rum-soaked days in the same bikini, sun dress, and flip-flops traipsing around Key West with only a tiny bag to hold my ID, credit card, and toothbrush. All the years since (and maybe a little bit the rum) have blurred the memories, but I remember we had a group of around eight girls, good girls, on that trip. A friend’s family graciously and generously hosted us and shuttled us from Ft. Lauderdale to the Key’s and back to be sure we saw as much as we possibly could on our trip. It was all music and booze and sunshine. A little wild, a little silly, much fun, and no drama.
Some of the bathroom facilities we used down there come back to me like war-time flashbacks. Our feet were exposed in flip-flops for God’s sake! Ah! I fret the wild disregard of hand sanitizer and sunscreen and wonder if I drank even one ounce of water other than what melted off the ice in my drinks over the course of the entire week. I wonder if that Cheeseburger in Paradise will ever let any of us back in.
Spring break 2014 in Ohio means it snowed, rained, and was generally gray and cold every day. I hung out with the kids the first part of the week, and for the latter, they went to their grandparents. Cabeen took an actual whole weekday off work and we made a little stay-cation out of it. We cleaned out all the closets and drawers by day (HOT!) and went out for dinner at night. We watched what we wanted on TV, stayed up late, slept in, and scavenged leftovers and cereal for meals at home. I didn’t cook once. NOT ONCE in three glorious days.
This is sanitary, pretty exciting stuff. I know. But I was as ecstatic about this break as I was to take that first plane ride to Florida with all those fun and beautiful girls.
I like to think that on that first trip to Key West, under the shelter of youth, I looked carefree and wind-blown and sun-kissed, but I’m pretty sure if I tried to repeat a couple free-wheeling days like that now I’d just look disheveled and confused. I imagine a very young person, perhaps on their own spring break, offering me their arm, asking if there’s someone they can call for me.
Time, resources, and sanitary standards have changed my idea of what constitutes a great break, but I remain an advocate for taking one every now and then, and the reasons why haven’t changed at all.
1) Breaks replenish our spirits. They remind us there is a thinking, feeling human being under all that laundry and discipline. Being “free” for a few days is a powerful thing, and it’s probably key to maintaining long-term balance and success.
2) Breaks eventually elicit an internal nag to get back to routine. (At least so far, for me). I get the feeling this is the most important part of the break, the reason for it. A break is a celebration / reminder about the benefits of a regular ole’ boring, wonderful, day-in-and-day-out routine.
There’s nothing like a good break, but generally speaking, I am so much better on a routine. I work better, sleep better, and eat better. I’m more productive and much happier following the daily schedule, keeping the weekly rhythm, that helps allocate my time and energy to the priorities in my life. Even the slightly dehydrated, sun-burned 21-year-old version of me knew a little something about this.
Like in all things, we just have to find the rhythm and balance that keeps us happy.
And… even if you’re a broke college student, go ahead and splurge on a cheap motel room. Seriously. Sleeping on the beach is not as romantic and hob0-chic as it sounds.
What constitutes a break for you? How often do you allow yourself to check out and just relax?