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Choices and Why Adults Don’t Get Summer Vacation

June 9, 2010

A guest post by Lara Vogel, co-author of The Choice Effect

Shifting into “summer” as an adult continues to be a struggle.

I just can’t shake my schooldays sense that summer should be many weeks in a row where I don’t have to think about responsibilities. The Man does not agree with this assessment of my June-August months, and work is rebelling. Which I understand—but as I know that I will feel this type of gotta-get-outta-here itch, I am conscious to schedule at least one week off mid-summer. But then the claims for this time begin…

Never been to South America. Want to learn to scuba dive. Need to get to Africa. Should finally do my taxes. Visit family…

So much to do, so little time. So I have spent literally months angsting over how to spend this break. Like most major problems in my twenties, I knew I was facing an embarrassment of riches. My issue wasn’t “is it possible?” or “will I enjoy it?” as much as just “which option is most likely to make me so happy I can return to work for another 6 months without complaint?” As if there were any drink strong enough or beach remote enough to accomplish that. Well, if there were, I would surely find it. And then drink it. Or sleep on it. Whichever was appropriate.

My colleagues and my friends were of little help. They made it worse—they just added options. And then there was the mockery, since I had made this process admittedly ridiculous. What with the weighing of options, the fantasy scenarios, the irrational rejections of locations for being too “kidnap-py.”

It wasn’t until I was caught checking facebook wall updates on the topic when actually sitting in a restaurant with real people that I decided it had gone too far. I’ve always referenced those who attend Star Trek conventions or those who heart Dungeons and Dragons with mild fascination, but here I was—clearly absorbed in my own travel fantasies. And it was starting to affect my normal life—isn’t that the first sign of a problem?

We’ve all done this before—I had begun focusing on all the possibilities rather than tending to action. It was like the ongoing three-week conversation I had maintained while prepping my match.com profile [are you confident or perv-vy when you list erotica as an interest, I wondered. Who would this attract?]. Clearly, as I dissected each decision, I felt that by choosing correctly, I could somehow get it right and avoid ever having to settle.

I was suffering the condition discussed in our book, The Choice Effect. The Choice Effect refers to the overabundance of choice facing today’s twenty and thirty somethings and the affect it has on our love lives. Clearly, I couldn’t pick a vacation, and I couldn’t pick a career path, and I couldn’t bring myself to focus on just one guy forever and ever. My mother was wringing her hands, and I was explaining as fast as I could. I knew that with Skype, iPads galore, the cracked glass ceiling, and a well-filled passport, the world was my oyster. I knew I could have it all—and that is exactly what made it impossible for me to settle down with just one vacation destination, one career, one grad program, and yes—one man.

But all good angsting must come to an end, and I did choose a vacation. Kigali, here I come. It fits none of my criteria—South America, scuba diving, family-related, but it sounds just about perfect for where I am right now.

Note from Renee:
I’ve been graciously given a copy of The Choice Effect in compensation for this guest post, but here’s a great deal for the rest of you! If you buy The Choice Effect on Amazon in the next 48 hours and forward your receipt to TheChoiceEffect@gmail.com you will be entered to win your choice of three different $500 Choister packages (tech, spa, or charity — see details here).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 9:58 am

    This definitely sums up a lot of what I’m going through at times! It really is a cost/benefit/opportunity anaylis situation most days I need to make a decision.

    I may have to pick up this book! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. June 13, 2010 10:55 pm

    Nice review! Thanks for sharing it. I decide to buy this book now.

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