Sitting in a comfortable chair watching yet another Netflix series seems reasonable at the time. However, when the clock hits 2 AM, an existential question may arise: What am I doing with my life?
Perhaps it isn’t the late hour that is concerning, but the fact that the mind-bending binge began at 5 PM! It may or may not have been the fourth consecutive night of television watching lethargy. Few activities provide more internal rationalizations than binge-watching or web surfing. “At least I’m not out spending money.” “I’m not hurting anyone.” “What’s the big deal?” and the dreaded, “Just one more episode.” All of these excuses have the added virtue of being demonstrably true.
I was recently in the midst of a Netflix/Internet-induced haze. In the light of day, better angels emerged. Rationalizations were replaced with resolutions. Promises of healthier eating, exercise, and more rest filled my mind. I assured myself that once the work day ended, a better me would emerge.
As the father of two girls, my best moment of each day is walking in the door after work and seeing their two smiling faces. One weekday, as is typical, I hypocritically asked my daughters to turn off the television. We hugged and talked about their days. Within an hour, my comfy chair called my name. Under the self-delusion that I would “quickly” check my social media accounts, the cycle repeated itself. Something needed to change.
I have lived a life with a fair amount of anxiety and apprehension. Reflection and self-awareness have often been an antidote to these feelings. The winter months, with less sunlight to provide energy, can be a difficult time for me. In a post titled How To Live An Endless Vacation, I shared my thoughts about keeping a holiday mindset, even during the longer, darker days of winter. One suggestion from the post was to enjoy short getaways. There is a great deal of research about the benefits of small trips…I began planning.
Weekend getaways are sometimes seen as a privilege for the wealthy. However, with some paid time off and a scheduled work conference, the timing was right for a few self-care weekends. Boston, New York, and Washington, DC were my destinations. Since I live outside of NYC, my first “getaway” was a day-trip to Manhattan where I pretended to be a tourist. Spending the day snapping photos of tall buildings and the like provided a simple, refreshing break.
Next was a work conference to Boston, which has always been one of my favorite destinations. During breaks, I took walks, explored restaurants, and generally took in a crisp November weekend. Boston has far fewer visitors during the colder months. It is during this offseason that one gets a true feel for the place.
One more trip was planned. I am a sports fans. Specifically, I am a lifelong fan of Syracuse University athletics. I headed to Washington, DC to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange basketball team take on their despised rival, the Georgetown University Hoyas. (My team lost the game, but it is more fun to envision a happier ending.) Spending time with fellow fans, enjoying each others’ company, and exploring DC made for another great weekend getaway.
Everyone Can Use A Getaway
These weekend getaways yielded the intended results. Screen time was replaced by researching destinations and organizing photographs. Time with family was spent more productively. Most importantly, I remembered how much traveling has added to this unexpected life of mine.
We all have different challenges and limitations. Perhaps feelings of anxiety keep people from getting away. Maybe family life makes escaping for a weekend more difficult. And there are almost always financial and work limitations at play. That being stated, think about how to make a weekend getaway work for you. It could be as simple as spending time as a tourist in your own town or as lavish as jetting off to an opulent resort.
Regardless of your life situation, I hope you try to create an opportunity to reset your life with a weekend getaway!
I think weekend city breaks can be amazing – really making the decision to take a weekend to see and explore somewhere, even if it’s somewhere you’re already familiar with, can be such a great way to get a new perspective on things.
Thanks for reading and for the comment, Laura! I especially liked them when I lived in London, because every place was so new to me.
Love this and yes to all! I have to say Netflix has saved my sanity a few times while travelling and having a low patch! Can’t knock easy uplifting of the spirit between more intellectual pursuits!
Thanks for the comment! Netflix has definitely been great for me as well. But sometimes…I watch way too much. 🙂
Me too! It’s like you knew, I’m binging on “Occupied” right now😳
Totally agree. And it’s lovely not to have to cook or clean anything for a day or two! If winter does ever get to you and you get the chance for a longer break, you can always consider heading down here to the southern hemisphere for a bit of warm summer sunshine 🙂
Thanks for the comment. It would be wonderful if I could get away longer in the winter! Maybe something to consider doing once during my career. Hmm… 🙂
Love the idea of being a tourist in your home town. There’s always something new to explore!
Thanks for reading this! It is definitely fun to explore our own area with a fresh perspective.
Having access to NYC service definitely offers a ton of opportunities for a weekend getaway, Kevin! 😉 We’re huge fans of local exploration, but also of quick weekends away to recharge. Sounds like you found some great options!
Definitely. Thanks for reading the post! There are so many options from here and I sometimes forget and need to remind myself. It is one of the reasons I thought this would be a good topic.
I couldn’t agree more with this. I love watching Netflix as much as the next guy, but whenever I’m out and about, whether it’s for a day trip or a long weekend, I think: I’m so glad I’m not sitting at home doing nothing! Great post, Kevin 🙂
Thanks, Paul! I definitely have a lot of realizations when I am out and about, especially when I travel.
My sentiments exactly! Great post!
Thanks so much! 🙂
Great bog post and your blog layout is nicely done! Just discovered your blog from Twitter. Regarding Netflix at least they show for the most part quality shows that are entertaining and thought provoking!
Cheers and wishing you great adventures in 2020, will follow!
John and Susan
Thanks for reading and for the comment! Netflix definitely has great content, which makes it so binge-worthy. Cheers!
Great post! I completely agree — there is so much value in getting out and about, even if just for a few hours. I feel such a difference when my stimulation comes from being out in the world surrounded by nature or the hustle and bustle rather than binging Netflix or sitting on my computer. It’s certainly a great way to hit the proverbial reset button!
Thanks for reading this and for your kind comment! It is definitely rejuvenating…it is almost always worth getting away, especially when it doesn’t break the bank.
I really hope to have some weekend getaways this year
I hope you do! They are so rewarding.
Great post. I hope I will have the opportunity to try this! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading it!
It is important to rest up…
Yes!!! Weekend trips are a great and easy way to recharge. I especially like your idea of playing tourist close to your own town. We don’t always appreciate the places where we live. For example, I lived in the Netherlands for 25 years, never visited the Rijksmuseum… It took me another 25 years of living in the USA and having an American husband and daughter with me before I finally did so…
Great post, thank you!
Karen | https://OurCarpeDiem.com
Thanks for reading and for the kind comment! There are still SO many places in New York that I need to visit, so I totally relate to your story.
I agree with you entirely. Unfortunately Perth is so remote and distances are great plus flights are expensive. However we try and be a tourist in our city and beyond as often as w3 can of a weekend. Our daughters are nearly 14 so sport and friendships are starting to take over.
Thanks for reading this, Wendy! I can definitely see how distance, as well as family commitments could make getaways more difficult. Money can also be an issue. For me, even an occasional weekend away is something to look forward to.
Fantastic read. It’s important to get out and explore when we can. You’ve got some great places to explore nearby on that East coast too. Shame about the result of the game, loved seeing DC in hockey playoff season though. A great buzz about the place with a sports event on 🙂
Thanks for reading the post and for your kind comment. Definitely a good place to watch sports, especially with the success of the Nationals this year. The East Coast is definitely a great place for weekends.
What’s remarkable about the lockdown period is that it allowed us to see our neighborhood and local destinations with fresh set of eyes. Perhaps moving forward, as travelers, our weekend getaways will be far more meaningful than ever compared a few months ago pre-corona days. Thanks for sharing Kev 😉
I couldn’t agree more, Jan. I have had trouble staying optimistic during lockdown, but it sure helps that I live near some wonderful areas.
Enjoyed reading your post, Kevin.
I perfectly agree with your points. Ellie & I have been living in London for fifteen years, but we try to still explore it like tourists, venture to parts we have never visited before, find new eateries and museums. Especially now with Covid we found out that there are a surprisingly large number of fabulous, signed-out hiking paths within the M25 where you spend most time walking through greenery, along lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers.
Of course proper getaways are the best. I love Boston and NYC is one of my favourite cities in the world. If it weren’t so difficult obtaining a Green Card I would have emigrated to NYC and not to London (today I prefer London slightly over NYC).
It’s great to see from your comments that you’ve lived in London for some time, too.
I also have come to enjoy London more than NYC, even though I loved there for a much shorter period of time. I cannot wait until I am allowed to travel there again. I have been watching walking videos on YouTube from some of my favorite neighborhoods during lockdown and it has been wonderful.
It’s this time of the year that I really feel cabin fever and that’s exasperated and amplified by COVID. February’s usually the time we flee to the Caribbean, to Disneyworld, to Australia – to anywhere that has sun that behaves like sun. Hopefully we can all get vaccinated, stay safe and travel and explore beyond state lines again soon.
You are to kidding about the cabin fever…and it has been a year of it! The vaccination effort is really ramped up now and I am starting to have some optimism that it will soon be safe to explore.
Great Post. Netflix has been a saviour in these weird days. I do love a weekend break. Unfortunately London is still under lockdown, with a gradual opening up again. Enjoyed reading this post.
Thank you for reading! I have watched and re-watched so many shows. Things are starting to get better and getaways are in the horizon.