Americans do it all wrong.

27 Jun

Vacation is over. As we pulled into our driveway on Sunday night — after a 9-hour drive from the Outer Banks — it hit me: American “vacations” are a sham. That’s right… this whole one-week holiday is a bunch of B.S. One week is hardly enough time to unwind from the intensity and obligation and responsibility of life, let alone actually enjoy the time and relax and de-stress.

In Europe, the standard for many is 5-6 weeks vacation. And often, employees take four of those in succession during the summer, so they can go on “holiday.” Meaning, they close up shop and just head off to Croatia, or the south of France, or Sydney, or to their villa in northern Italy, so they can live an alterna-life for long enough for it to count, spending loads of time with their families, hosting guests and boisterous dinner parties, riding bikes into town, reading novels (plural)… all the things we Americans don’t have time to do during our measly one-week away, because we’re trying to make the most of every minute; which inevitably means activity planning and organizing and  stressing when we’re supposed to be “off duty.” And while many of us get more than one-week vacation for the year, who among us could actually take 2+ weeks in a row away from our job duties and responsibilities without fear of everything falling apart, or our job being in jeopardy? Not this girl.

Certainly many would argue that as an American, with the freedoms and opportunities available to me, I shouldn’t be complaining. And I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. Except that I’m not one for living the status quo — I like to ruffle the feathers and spark the conversation.

This all comes at a time when my hubby and I are re-evaluating our life and where we live and trying to decide if it’s where we ultimately want to be. Overwhelmed by the stress and necessity of New York, and the strain this frenetically paced lifestyle puts on people… it just gives me pause. I don’t have solutions or answers. I just know I would love me some 4 weeks of uninterrupted “holiday!” Why is that concept so obscure to us Americans!? Aren’t we the same people who created the Real Housewives enterprise? Those crazies vacation all year round! (When they’re not paying someone to slap their name on a Pinot Grigio label or tacky pocketbook.)

How do you feel about all of this? Do you think we work too hard for too little? What would you do differently if you could be fully in control of your life and your destiny?


2 Responses to “Americans do it all wrong.”

  1. Nicole June 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    It’s so funny because I was just talking about this with a coworker today. Numerous family members are I’ll and live in different states and I don’t have enough vaca time to see them or help take care of them. I want a life where work doesn’t run my schedule or my families schedule. I’m praying hard and working on going into business for myself.


  1. OBX: a recap « Westchester Life - June 29, 2012

    […] as made evident in my last post, vacation is officially over. It was our first real “vacation” in about 2 years (I […]

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