Ahhh, vacation. A chance to see what life would be like if I didn’t have to work for a living – staying up late (it’s 2 am now), sleeping in, and doing things I never have energy for while on the treadmill called working class America. Maybe it’s a vestige of owning a 24-hour business for so many years, but I was never good at turning off work-mode, at adjusting from a work mindset to one of leisure. Even days off are sometimes spent with that nagging awareness that I have to work the next day, preventing me from enjoying the present one.
Not so this past week. I knew the vacation was coming, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and this changed my outlook entirely. My midweek day off was very leisurely and enjoyable, even though I had to work the next day. It’s all in my head! It’s a problem of getting stuck in dreary work mode. Do others suffer from this, I wondered? I bet they do! (well, depends on how they feel about their jobs). Our work life can prey on our consciousness, tempering leisure hours with reminders of our forced servitude. It’s like being Cinderella at the ball, with one eye on her glorious surroundings and the other on the clock. At midnight, it’s all over. We may physically leave work, but mentally we can still be there.
I’m reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon that was stuck to the wall of my bedroom as a kid: “I’ve developed a new philosophy on life. I only dread one day at a time.” I definitely adopted that mentality early in life, and it’s probably no accident that I put that cartoon up. I had to chuckle recently when I saw a similar sentiment on a soda can cooler: “I barely survived yesterday and it’s already today!” These attitudes view life as a burden, something to be endured and struggled through. According to your belief, so be it unto you.
We get what we believe about ourselves and about life, good or bad, and unhealthy habitual thought patterns can insidiously silence our loftier ideals. We can get stuck seeing life a certain way, and that is what becomes our reality – even though it’s not the reality. Case in point: I’ve always disliked mornings. I am not an early riser unless forced to, and have often said that the only thing I’ll get out of bed for at 5 am is surgery. Do you know what other Charlie Brown cartoon I had on the wall of my bedroom? “I think I’m allergic to mornings.” Whether he was creating, affirming, or reinforcing my beliefs, that Charlie Brown sure is a Negative Nellie. He could take a few lessons from Spongebob, who definitely is a better role model.
So here I am with a week of freedom to maybe change my outlook a bit, to give me a fresh perspective, mostly where my career is concerned. The only limitations I have in life are the ones I place on myself. One of my favorite quotes, paraphrased from the Bible, is “All things are possible to him that believeth.” Time to believeth in more positive outcomes than that bunk Charlie Brown was dishing out years ago. He’s a blockhead, and I’d rather have squarepants.