Lately several of my coworkers have been militating for and setting up some vacation time. Everyone, even Curt, has asked me "don't you want some vacation?"
Certain friends and relatives also have brought it up. They ask, When am I planning to take a vacation and travel and see people?
When I think of taking a vacation, it leaves me utterly cold. On the one hand, it's true that I have been working hard – but I'm not working to exhaustion. I get enough sleep and rest and I don't push myself except for work – even to the extent that a trip to the store seems excessive and gets put off sometimes, and the idea of even a day trip into the city on a weekend requires a lot of lead time and mental preparation. On the other hand, when I imagine a vacation, I imagine two possible things. First, I could travel somewhere (e.g. the US) and make a whirlwind visit to people who are important to me. That sounds exhausting and stressful, and although I would love to see certain people, I can't imagine trying it on the sort of week-and-a-half-long race across America such as I did in 2012. The second possibility is that I could sit in my apartment and "relax" for some period of time. Frankly, that sounds boring and depressing. My 4-day weekend a while back for Buddha's birthday was already pushing the limit of my mental hunger for solitude.
As a consequence of the above thought processes, in fact the idea of a vacation doesn't really inspire me much. I'm having about the kind of vacation I "need" right now, anyway: because of the exam-prep period of the middle-schoolers, my teaching schedule has been halved for a few weeks. So I have enough work to get me out of bed each day, to keep me active and interested in things, but not so much work that I feel overwhelmed by it. Next month, I'll get a chance to feel overwhelmed again, but for now I'm taking a sort of "working vacation," basically.
So I'm not really planning anything. The whole idea of travel hasn't been particularly compelling for me the last few years – even before the cancer diagnosis, I was evolving into more of a homebody. Although I still sometimes fantasize about traveling, the reality of it is that I tend to get depressed and lonely during extensive trips (such as my trip to Japan in 2010, or to Australia and NZ in 2011), or else I feel stressed – overwhelmed and exausted (such as my trip back to the US in 2012).
When people came to visit me, we did some trips – day trips and a few overnight tours to various parts (Andrew and Hollye to Yeonggwang; Ann and Jacob to Sokcho; etc.). Although I enjoyed those trips, I did them as a means to "share" Korea with them, more than out of an interest in traveling myself. For me, a half-day adventure into Seoul to meet my friend Peter and hike a stretch of city wall is about the most extensive sort of trip for which I can work up any interest at all.
I write all this to say: sorry, if you're hoping I'm going to take a vacation. It doesn't seem to be in the cards, right now.
Here is another thought about "vacation," vis-a-vis my cancer experience of the past year:
In a sense, sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it's always a place where there's no company, where nobody can follow. Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and I think those who don't have it miss one of God's mercies. – Flannery O'Connor (written to friend about her lupus disease that eventually killed her)
What do I mean by quoting this? I only mean that perhaps I've had the trip of my lifetime, over the past year, at the National Cancer Center Resort.
What I'm listening to right now.
Aztec Camera, "Pillar to Post." In my college years, I really liked the group Aztec Camera, but it is no longer very interesting to me. Nevertheless, occasionally it comes around on my mp3 shuffle, and I get nostalgic for those times in the mid-80's when I listened to it a lot.
[daily log: walking, 5 km]