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Life101: Need Vacation! Please Help!


Many of us put off personal time to our detriment. How you should be

Every year, I battle with the notion of taking time off: time off for the holidays; time off for a summer vacation; or even time off to get a freakin' haircut. It's expensive, I have work to do, it's expensive, I have work to do, it's expensive, and I have work to do. That's the volley that happens in my head every time I want to sneak off for a few days. It's not only exhausting--but also totally unproductive.

I love to travel. Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, the Hamptons, all places I've figured out how to visit at one point or another, but for some reason, I can't seem to do it often enough these days. Is it because I'm older now? I have too many "responsibilities"? I'm too money-conscious? Any one of those may be, or at least feel, true on any given day, but I think it's actually deeper than that. I think it's because I'm an American, and I live in New York City, which equals one big double-whammy.

Having traveled a bit, I know that most Europeans get a minimum of four to six weeks of vacation per year. If you go to Paris in August, you'll notice that half of the stores are closed. That's because many Parisians take the entire month off. This is in addition to all the holidays, and any time they decide to go on strike. That sounds like a whole lot of time off, and just proves how lazy those government-sponsored socialists really are. Right? Actually, maybe not.

Americans, and especially New Yorkers, believe that working 10 hours per day, six days per week, with 2 weeks of vacation per year or none at all, is more productive, not to mention more respectable, than working less hours and less days. (Did you read the recent New York Times column, "The Busy Trap"?) But most studies show otherwise. Not only are we more productive when working fewer hours per day and days per year, we're also physically healthier. And yet, here I sit, writing this column instead of lying on the beach somewhere, taking some much-needed time off, and sipping some frozen something or other. It will be really ingenious when I figure out to do it all at once.

So what can we do about it right now? We can make a plan and have someone hold us accountable. So, where do you want to go? (And where do I wanna go?!) This summer isn't over yet. Maybe it's not enough time to save and plan for a big gay trip to Majorca, but you can certainly prioritize a daytrip to the beach or a weekend away.

I'm setting a goal to take at least one long weekend this summer and spend it in some sort of vacation setting, either beachside and/or poolside. And I'm asking you to hold me accountable. I mean, it's going to make me healthier and more productive AND it will feel good while I'm doing it. I can't say that for a lot of things that are actually good for me. So, how bad can it be? Now, what's your vacation plan for the summer?

Johnkalinowski-picThis is the first of a series of columns. John Kalinowski is an NYU-Certified Life Coach based in New York City. For more information on who he is and what he does, check out his website, On Twitter: @JohnKalinowski

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