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March 2014
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I Can See Vacation from Here

A week from tomorrow our family goes on vacation. Business and school needs dictate our schedule for fifty weeks out of the year. The week between Christmas and New Years is a lull for all business things and during that lull we curl up at home and do nothing in particular. For a very long time that lull was all we had. Then about five years ago I realized that if we wanted family time, we had to declare it and defend it from encroaching business and school. I claimed Spring break as our annual vacation. It was a fixed point on our calendar.

At first we thought we would go on various different adventures. I planned to scout out new locations each year. What happened instead was that we fell in love with a place and we keep going back. This means I barely have to plan in advance. We just pick up and go when the time comes. That is probably the biggest vacation of all. Our lives are heavily pre-planned. I know what we’re going to do next year in broad sketches, next month in defined sketches, and next week in detail. Some of this forward planning is necessity. Much of it is anxiety. Our particular bundles of anxieties mean that multiple members of the family go a little crazy if they don’t know what to expect. For vacation, we know. We know where we’re going. We know what options are generally available as activities. We know we’ll decide day to day how things actually go.

I’m very much looking forward to the vacation. I’ll leave 90% of the work behind (email follows me everywhere) and bring my writing. I’m hoping to treat the trip much like a writing retreat. Hours of typing while the kids swim and then later we’ll play games or watch movies together. I’m more prepared to take advantage of a writing retreat than I ever have been before. I’m nearing the halfway point in a novel which hopes to end at 60,000 words. I’m unlikely to have any other retreat this year. On the other hand, if writing starts to feel stressy, I’ll just embrace the vacation-ness of it.

In between now and vacation there are many things to do. I’m going to need every minute of the next week to make sure all the things get done.

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