Time Well Spent
Last week I took a “time out” and went to New Mexico for a vacation. It was there, while cycling mini mountains in the Tesuque Village in Santa Fe, visiting the Georgia O’Keefe museum, walking through numerous indoor and outdoor art galleries, literally stopping to smell the roses, lounging in mineral springs filled with soda, iron, and arsenic, and covering up completely in mud at the Ojo Caliente spa, getting lost while hiking, eating a scrumptious lunch at a four-star resort in the middle of a desert, walking above the Rio Grande Gorge looking down 650 feet to the river, enjoying scrumptious homemade breakfasts at B & Bs (including Mexican eggs and chili!), digging for garnets and whitewater rafting down the Rio Grande in Taos, that I realized vacation time is just like regular time, only it’s time well spent.
Ever notice how a week’s vacation flies by faster than a Learjet, yet the days themselves seem to stretch on infinitely? Not fractured by commuting, work, meetings, more commuting, and possibly an after work commitment, vacation days seem to be one long moment punctuated by sights, meals, experiences, and much needed rest.
Even though I spent the morning of my last day of vacation in an urgent care office in Santa Fe trying to figure out why my left eye swelled up like I’d just gone a few rounds with Rocky Balboa, I took it in stride. What else did I have to do? Where else did I need to be? Sure, I’d been planning to hike the Tent Rocks, but it wasn’t like I’d fall behind schedule if I didn’t. And while early on during the trip I stopped to use a “restroom” atop a mountain on the side of the road and came a bit to close to a snake, it was all part of the adventure.
Now I’m in that span of time when you return home from a vacation and it can often be a let down. Slogging back into the daily grind, going through the motions and wondering, “Was it only a few days ago I was on a raft smacking against rocks? Or climbing a never-ending hill on a mountain bike in 90-degree heat? Or covered from head to toe in mud?” And as I stand sandwiched in a packed subway car or at my desk with a pile of work, images from my vacation flicker across my mind like the slideshows my dad used to make us watch of our old vacations projected on the dining room wall, and I exhale, savoring the memory. Vacation time may not last, but the memories sure do.