What did you do on your summer vacation?

Labor day weekend

Q:   I have been laboring all weekend to make up for my vacation time.  It seems that my life is all work—when I play, I pay now and I pay later.  What am I doing wrong?

A.  I invite you to consider the question you were expected to answer when you returned to school each fall: What did you do on your summer vacation?  I know that you are decades from elementary school and I am aware that for many school begins in August not in September, but don’t let these details divert you from answering the question.  Why?  The answer is simple.  The weight of today’s concerns may obscure or cause you to forget how you spent your time. Begin by considering:

  • How do you do rest and restore?
  • What do you do to recharge?  Re-energize?  Lift your spirits?
  • Consider special occasions:  Birthdays? Fourth of July? Weddings? Family reunions? Music or film festivals?

As you may know from my book Getting There & Staying There, I walk the talk. This is especially true when it comes to vacation. I am pleased to report that I achieved the perfect balance of work and play this year, enjoying many stay-cations. I enjoy all that Boston offers, beginning with July 4th fireworks spectacular on the CharlesRiver.  I never miss the Landmarks Orchestra Concerts on the Esplanade, especially given my Board role supporting free classical concerts.  My summer is not complete without Commonwealth Shakespeare’s performances on Boston Common, this year (what a tragedy) King Lear.

In August I close up shop, press the pause button, and head to my favorite vacation destination, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard. I don’t do anything when I first arrive; I just sit on the porch and look at the water.  It’s easy to recharge because each year Rest_MVOak Bluff’s assembly of panels, speakers and art events becomes more similar to my experience of Chautauqua.  Here are a few events that I attended on the Vineyard:

  • Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.  Outstanding, especially the panel entitled “Putting Words to Page,” hosted by Tony Horwitz.
  • “Changing the Script:  Media, Culture and Black Lives,” a panel discussion that included actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover.
  • “Black and Blue:  Policing the Color Line,” the annual Harvard Law School Forum founded by Professor Charles Ogletree.
  • Black Millennials:  They Rock, but Can They Rule?” moderated by PBS commentator Charlayne Hunter-Gault and hosted by Harvard Professor Skip Gates
  • The Morgan Stanley Literary Brunch

And I scheduled my vacation to end so that I could revel in the antics of star-crossed (and confused) lovers in Commonwealth Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream with the Landmarks Orchestra.  Life can’t get any better than all of this!

Yes, Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer. However, don’t rush. Your summer What did you dowill end when you officially pause and reflect.  Answer the question and I bet that you will be re-energized.

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