My family just returned Sunday morning from an awesome 8 day trip. I had 9 total days - in a row - off work. Can I just say that I needed to have done that a long time ago?
One of the downsides of living in America and being a citizen who cares about working and contributing to society (because believe me, quite a few Americans do not) is that we work too many hours. I have a rather nontraditional schedule which gives me 3 days on and 4 days off a week because I work 12 hour shifts at night, nevertheless, it wears me down just as much as the 8 to 5 grind wears folks down during the week. We work and we work and we work because we have to pay our bills to live, and sometimes we fail to consider how much value there is in taking time off. I'm very lucky to work for a company that gives me 200 hours of paid leave each year. That's roughly 16 days off per year (because I work 12 hour days), and I've yet to actually take that number of days off in a year. Sometimes it was because we were not staffed well enough to be gone for long, but mostly it was because I didn't recognize how vital these vacations are to my health and well being.
I mean, I had a really good time. We went to Fort Lauderdale for 5 days and stayed at the Marriott Beach Place towers in a condo. It was super duper nice and there were adequate stores and shopping (a mall actually) right in the back of our hotel on the beach side, including a 24 hour CVS. I would definitely stay there again. The staff was friendly and very helpful, the place was very clean and tidy, the decor was modern and crisp looking, and they had adequate hot tubs, pools, places to eat, and it was just a few steps to the beach! The ocean was crazy crystal clear and a beautiful teal color, the beach was clean and very well maintained, and I appreciated a huge police presence over the Memorial Day weekend. That city had its stuff together. There was apparently some sort of gang activity nearby while we were there and the police were all over it immediately, closing roads and bridges temporarily to prevent further gang members from entering the beach area. We took one afternoon/evening to ride to Hollywood, FL to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe because it's my personal mission to eat at and visit each one in the United States before I croak. I collect the pins from each city and prominently display them on a Hark Rock burgundy felt banner that hangs on the wall in my upstairs hallway. Traffic was a bit rough, but other than that we had a good time. Collectively we won about $6 gambling in the casino! Another item I can scratch off the bucket list.
On Thursday we left sun-shiny Ft. Lauderdale for overcast Orlando so we could hit Disney for a couple of days. Oddly enough I wasn't the one (in the end) who was pushing for Disney but I'm so glad we made those last minute reservations. We stayed at the new Art of Animation Resort and went to the Magic Kingdom on Friday and Hollywood Studios on Saturday. We had a blast. I remember most of it quite well. Because I accidentally bonked my head on the granite countertop in the beach condo I had a bit of a delayed concussion that rendered me very much "out of it" for hours on Saturday, but nevertheless I trooped out the the park! There are pics of me I have no memory of posing for! Since I've never really been a drinker, at least I know now how it feels to "black out."
The hardest part was the drive back late Saturday night because we stayed for the awesome fireworks show at Hollywood Studios, called Fantasmic, and effectively left after the park closed. My family wouldn't let me share in the drive because I'd been mostly out of it earlier in the day with my concussion - and we were driving Hal's brand new truck! My car is still at the body shop getting it's dents fixed from the crazed deer that ran into me in May, so we couldn't afford to have another vehicle out of commission!
We got lots of exercise on vacation too, so much so that I needed a day or two to recoup from vacation, even though I came almost straight back to a 12 hour shift! But I was very emotionally and mentally recharged and ready for work again. I learned a pretty good lesson. Don't feel guilty for taking time off. You'll do yourself and your co-workers and those you serve a favor by regaining your sanity once in a while!