Begin with vacation in mind…

Vacation is pending, and while I continue the full-tilt boogie that is my life, I find my approach to the day to day has changed. Steve Covey, author of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said, “Begin with the end in mind.” I begin with vacation in mind.

At work, this means:

  • I must get these interviews done.
  • I must get these campaigns completed.
  • I must get my fellows enough assignments to keep them busy in my absence.
  • I must pass along a task or two I always do myself  because it must be done when it must be done — and I won’t be here do it. (I try not to say it too gleefully to myself.)

At home, this means:

  • I find someone to take care of the cats, take in the mail, take out the trash — in other words, house-sit.
  • I make sure we have barely enough food to make it through the week so we won’t be leaving perishables behind to rot.
  • I have to do laundry, make sure the house is clean (because I hate coming home to a messy house), and start to pack.
  • I’ve already been shopping in anticipation — a new beach cover-up, new beach sandals (that my sister-in-law will likely hate), a dress, some shorts… And I’ve been anticipating doing some shopping while on vacation. (I try not to say that too gleefully to my husband.)

It also means I overestimate the luxurious free time I will have while on vacation, and so I consider what supplies I should take with me. Beading supplies? Scrapbooking? Definitely a notebook since my husband will commandeer my laptop much too often, and I just have to write. Books to read, shoes for walking or running on the beach, goggles and swim cap in case I get brave enough to swim with the sharks.

prepare for vacation
Cute, right? My homeroom class had created letters through the years for various bulletin board displays, and I had acquired quite a collection. Mix and match and make it beautiful.

Before I left my teaching career, I created a bulletin board display for the incoming teacher. It read Covey’s “Begin with the end in mind,” but it said much more. I draped the board with remnants of high school graduation: the program listing the criteria for the awards earned, the meaning of the gold stole and the colored cords plus some of those cords and a sample stole, and a graduation cap for good measure.

I wanted the students to remember seeing the previous year’s graduates on that stage, consider the bio spoken about each one, the tributes to their efforts in a variety of activities and academics. I wanted them to picture themselves at that moment — and then work toward that achievement. To start the school year with the end of the year in mind, the end of their high school career in mind, with the hope that doing so will drive them to achieve their utmost.

But it’s one thing to start a school year with the end in mind. Most students can’t wait to reach the end anyway. And it’s one thing to begin my daily life with my pending vacation in mind.

But it’s quite another to begin a vacation with the end in mind.

What? Tears? Sadness? Home again, home again, jiggity jig?

Ah. But then I remember what I meant when I encouraged my students to begin the school year with the end of the year in mind. It wasn’t to focus on the end so much as to focus on making the most of the time in between the beginning and the end.

So what do I want to accomplish on my vacation? I want to rest, relax, not think about work, regroup, refresh myself spiritually and physically and mentally and be not just ready but also excited to return to work and normal routines with set goals and purpose.

I might need a longer vacation.


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