Vacation

The WSJ ran a piece recently on the important of actually vacationing during one’s vacation. Otherwise, it’s just wasted time.

I knew I was going to enjoy it from the first paragraph:

Last weekend, I began packing for the annual summer pilgrimage to our family’s house in the Lakes region of New Hampshire, about a three-hour drive from our home.

This bit of reminiscence was particularly nice and captures the history and feeling of many of these lakeside camps:

My family has gone to the lake house almost every summer since before I was born. My great-uncle bought the cabin in the late 1950s, back when a high-school English teacher could afford to own a modest summer home. We are blessed to have this place, and I am thankful that my cousins have managed somehow to keep it in the family.

Unlike many of the other, far more sumptuous homes that have sprouted up around it, our lake house isn’t winterized and hasn’t really changed since the late 1950s. But to our family, this modest brown cabin with its green trim and weathered, moss-covered roof is far more than just a summer vacation spot. It is a temple of family history and tradition.

My 6-year-old daughter, the fourth generation in our family to come to this place, learned to love the water here the same way that my sister and I did more than 30 years ago. Each summer, we still play the same board games from the 1950s and ’60s that my father played as a child—Ski Gammon, Derby Day and Uncle Rich—their boxes painstakingly repaired with duct tape. We cook corn in the same giant white enamel pot, now slightly chipped. We eat at the same round wooden table on the porch. We fall asleep to the same haunting calls of the loons and the same piney smell of the New Hampshire woods. It is our own “Lake Isle of Innisfree” (to borrow from Yeats)—a mental and physical sanctuary.

That may be one reason why it feels like a kind of desecration when I allow my work life to invade this place.

Finally, a bit of compensation advice to remember:

“Your vacation time is part of your compensation package,” she says. “Would you give part of your salary back to your company?”

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