Today is the first day of the rest of my life. But aren’t they all? Ah, but this one is different. This is the first day I’m not tethered to a day job. This marks the beginning of my life as a freelance writer. I feel like a kid in a video arcade with all the unstructured time that is now mine to pay attention to the ideas percolating in my head. So many choices. Where to start.
It comes as a surprise to me that I’m giving myself a vacation first. Although I feel a sense of urgency to get the pen moving I need some time. The last weeks of work were hectic and stressful as I transitioned in my replacement and jumpstarted a new school year. On top of that, I’ve been working a night job since May because once I decided to leave the work world I’ve been laying the groundwork for the return to writing. Sending queries, studying the markets, attending conferences, and developing article ideas.
Vacations are necessary for out sanity, although it seems that many Americans fail to realize this. A third of baby boomers don’t take the vacation days allotted by employers. On top of that, American employers award an average of 15 vacation days annually for only 75% of workers. Compare that to European countries where yearly vacation time ranges from 22 to 30 days and where many companies make employees take the time off.
Taking time off is as important to your health as exercising and watching what you eat. What’s more, vacationing is the greatest investment you can make in productivity. You return recharged and de-stressed, back in the groove. Vacations also cut down on sick days.
I just hope I can remember that in the future and manage to take some time off even though it’s no longer a paid benefit!