Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The miniest of micro vacations

Every once in a while, I get the luxury of going on a real vacation. I'm talking plane ride to exotic location, hotel shampoos, drinks with colorful straws for days on end. Unfortunately, scenarios like that don't happen very often for me. Maybe it's because I'm an American and we can't just seem to get this paid vacation thing figured out, but my days off are few and far between.

As a result, I've learned to find joy and renewal in what I like to call a micro vacation. Shorter than a mini vacay, a micro vacation is measured in hours, not days - but still has the requirements of a full vacation: travel to a new location, turn off your phone, and don't forget the sunscreen. The key to taking a micro vacation, though, is to know when to spot it. Planning in advance is fruitless - you'll end up spending more time figuring out what to do than you will on the actual vacation. Instead, a micro vacation shows itself, and it is your job to recognize and grasp the opportunity.

That happened to me today. I was chatting with some girlfriends over our morning coffee when some facts suddenly became clear: I and one of my friends both had the afternoon off AND we had access to a car. Two very rare occasions for people who live in New York City. First we considered spending the hot summer day at a nearby pool. Then we decided to go big - we were going to the beach.

In what seemed like only minutes later, she and I were clad in our finest bathing suits and heading straight for Rockaway Beach. If it was good enough for the Ramones, it would be good enough for us. Soon enough, we were sprawled out on our towels and soaking up the sun, Cheryl Crow-style (how many music references can I fit into one paragraph?). My inbox took an immediate backseat to running into the ocean, and even though I knew that I had to go to work later that day, I turned my brain off for the two hours that we were at the beach.

And you know what? It turns out that the world didn't end just because I waited to respond to an email. On the contrary, I was refreshed and rejuvenated when I arrived at work. I wasn't cranky on the phone with my boyfriend. I was actually excited when he told me we were having dinner with his parents this weekend. And that's all because I jumped at the chance to immerse myself in a micro vacation. The whole thing took less than four hours of my time - but added a week's worth of energy to my day.

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