Right now I am sitting on a wrought iron bed in a cozy front bedroom in a country cottage, windows open, the Alleghenies, a light cool breeze blowing through, the scent of bacon wafting through the house. It is beautiful here, from the scenery to the rustic yet luxurious furnishings. Last night I slept with the windows open to the sound of raindrops on the tin porch roof. This is the kind of place in which I’d like to live, a perpetual vacation surrounded by woods and mountain views.
But if I lived in vacation accommodations year round, it wouldn’t feel like a vacation, would it? I know that. It is the change of venue that makes it a vacation, and the change of routine. Right now I have no particular demands on my time, but even when I’m home, I’m mostly in charge of my schedule. My deadlines are self-imposed, the result of my choice to support my kids’ various activities, to take on a particular freelance project. Even my day job allows me flexibility. The fact that I don’t have to maintain this lovely home on the hill is exactly what makes it a vacation. Maintenance, no matter how lovely the setting, is the drudgery.
I suppose even if I were paying someone to keep my house and make my meals, there would be other activities of maintenance that would drag me down. The “ladies that lunch” who frequent the nearby Homestead Resort in posh style probably complain about the drudgery of their demanding social lives. For them, and maybe even occasionally for me, the folding of clothes and washing of dishes could be a vacation if it is out of the regular routine.
I have a deep longing to live life as if it were a vacation, yet I know this would be a life of perpetual discontent as “vacation” becomes its own routine. Escape from routine is what I crave, simultaneously knowing that it’s routine that keeps my life from going completely off the rails.
The obvious solution is to travel more frequently (but not too frequently), to give myself breaks from routine, even if I don’t know what to do with myself when I take them. Did I mention the bed I’m sitting on is perfectly made, pillows fluffed and throw blanket carefully replaced at my feet? I made my bed on vacation.