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!