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A Needed Vacation

There’s an interesting phenomenon which occurs with time off. If we’ve been racing, racing, racing to accomplish, then suddenly stopping with an artificially enforced "vacation" can feel unnatural, even unpleasant. The initial restlessness of what we feel can be disturbing. We may even falsely equate it to needing to get back to work. We just can't get settled.

But the initial dissatisfaction with slowing down to a standstill is not an indication of problematic unproductiveness. Really, most of what we give ourselves to do on a daily basis is artificially created. The real work of life, subsisting, is a much different form of work than most of us are familiar with. Subsistence existence, which is directly linked to our immediate survival, still does exist, but in many places now, it has improved - for most of us, we are content to live in the illusion that our lives are secure and guaranteed. What then occurs is filling our time with self-made distractions. 

But why do we need this? Do we need to be incessantly busy? I think we choose to distract ourselves because sitting still brings us back to an uncomfortable truth. There doesn't appear to be much to our lives ultimately beyond subsistence. Even the great works one might achieve, the conquests, the financial glory, the procreation of offspring, all these have no meaning when compared to the timeless eternity of the universe.

This is not to say we’re meaningless. But the meaning we give ourselves should be humbled - it is only the universe which holds our secret. We are magnificent and nothing at the same time. When we come to a standstill, we understand this. We can distill our wishes of grandeur down to more simple and powerful goals. The restlessness we feel with an imposed vacation should actually be pushed through, worked with until one reaches peacefulness. We need to give ourselves the real time to reach a new state: one where the excesses of what we claim to find important fall away; and the beauty of simple, humble, quiet existence comes into the fore. 


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