This week Little Miss started summer camp.
I have never seen her happier or dirtier. Yesterday she looked like she was going out to play left tackle for the New England Patriots with mud covering each cheek. (Honestly, I can’t imagine how dirty she would be if she didn’t swim twice a day.) She jumps in the car every afternoon covered in ground in dirt gushing over the new friends she is making, her swimming lessons, and the new dance she’s learning.
Driving home yesterday, I half-jokingly said, “It sounds like you’re having so much fun. I think Mommy needs to go to summer camp too.”
She laughed and said, “Mommy, you’re a grown up. You can’t go to summer camp.”
Oh how the truth hurts.
In order to afford food, clothing, shelter, and summer camp, we grown-ups work. And what is our reward? 2 weeks paid vacation if we’re lucky enough to work for someone else and maybe a long weekend for us solos.
And poll after poll show that many Americans aren’t taking their vacations at all. When we do, we bring our work along.
That’s just sad.
It’s not just children who benefit from play. Studies show that people who take vacations are less stressed, happier, and healthier.
I’ve even read that taking time off from work can help your solo practice. Giving yourself time away gives you the opportunity to think about your business, and not just your clients. When you’re always working in your business, it’s hard to gain some much needed perspective. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want that.
Speaking from recent experience, I know it’s true.
My family, along with my siblings’ families, went to Cape Cod to celebrate the 4th of July.
We descended on my parent’s house for a week of fun in the sun. My daughter played with her cousins. I hung out with my new nephew. I went shopping with my sister. We had big family dinners every night (at home with everyone pitching in to get the food on the table.) We played games, went swimming, ate ice cream, and just relaxed.
It was heaven.
With a little planning, I was able to really relax and forget about work for a little while.
All blog posts were written and scheduled before I left. I referred two matters to other attorneys to free up my time. I brought the laptop, but never even opened it. I tracked my email on my iPad, but spent no more than 10 minutes a day on it.
And I got some clarity on a project that’s not working, and recognized that I’ve been neglecting something with far more potential. On an old-fashioned piece of paper, I wrote down my plans for the next 6 months.
Yes, that’s right. I have plans.
You know what? My business didn’t suffer at all. Not one bit. What I gained from spending a week kicking back was, as Mastercard would tell us, priceless.
Here’s the thing. Anyone can do it. Yes, you too can unplug from work if you really want to.
And you know what I discovered on my week away? I discovered that I really want to unplug this summer and spend some quality time with my family.
So that’s why we’ll be heading up to Storyland soon and then back to the Cape for the Barnstable County Fair. My daughter is super-excited (and I mean over-the-moon gaga) to go to the Hot Air Balloon Festival at URI and Mystic Seaport will be seeing the Proia family next month.
I have all winter to work. Right now, it’s time to have some fun.
So have you scheduled some time off for yourself this summer? If so, let us know how you’re making it happen.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.