What is vacation anyway?

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” – Robert Orben

I have to admit — I scoffed the first time I came across this quote, because according to its definition, I am on vacation.  But I am not.  Unemployed, scouring job postings, and finding very little — if not — nothing job-wise, and trying to occupy the time definitely does NOT feel like vacation.  When my aunt first learned that I’d joined the growing ranks of the unemployed, she said, “what’re you going to do? You’ve never not worked for more than four minutes?”  She’s right.  Ever since I could work, I have, and even then sometimes multiple jobs at a time.   I know I’m not alone in having worked hard, having worked a lot, or in having lost my work.  But I am alone in having to travel this leg of my life’s journey, and to do with it what I will.  This is not to say that I am without support or encouragement — but I have to be the one to move through these circumstances, to learn what I can, and to take the next steps.  That being said, after what has now been eight months of being unemployed I have definitely explored a number of ways to make sure that I can fill my “all day” with something.

Leslie Sansone has become my near-daily walking and exercise companion.  If you don’t know who she is or what she does, I highly recommend you check out her work – her “walk-at-home” routines have provided me with regular doses of physical exercise, moments of personal victory, and lots of soul-filling encouragement.  The aromas of South Indian curries, Jambalaya, Panang Curry, Spicy Green Curry, and a variety other delicious recipes have carried me through a number of days, provided sustenance in my home, and given me a productive way to wile away many an afternoon.  My pile of must-read-chic-lit books has slowly dwindled as the “read it!” pile has grown.  The crafting table (read tarp-covered dining room table) was covered from November through last week as I beaded, stamped, embossed, and wrapped my way through the holidays.  I can no longer count on one hand, or two for that matter, how many times I’ve completed the 3.1-ish loop around the Rose Bowl.  And I’ve been known on occasion or two, to drown out my mother’s in-my-head “don’t waste the daylight” reprimand and [GASP] take a nap or even [DOUBLE GASP] watch a movie in the middle of the day!  And you know what — I love it!  It’s still discouraging, frustrating, sometimes depressing when I am not finding new professional possibilities (although as I write some have been springing up), but at least for now I can consider this…what if she did what she loves?  What if I focus on doing many of the things that I love, reward myself with some relaxation, and continue to learn every day?  What if?

So now, instead of going on vacation with Orben and doing nothing in all my time (save that for a vacation in the islands), I choose to go with the Oxford American Dictionary — Vacation is…

“an extended period of recreation; a fixed holiday period between terms in schools and law courts [or jobs]; the action of leaving something one previously occupied…”

And until my vacation comes to an end — I will continue to search for the next right job, will strive to remain full of hope, and will diligently pursue the things I love.

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