Vacations come in all shapes and sizes. Some are meant for relaxation and nothing else. Some are meant to see the sights and experience new things. Some are meant for visiting friends and family.
Mine, it seems, try to wrap all those things into one, with a timetable that leaves me more worn out than when the vacation started. Especially when you want to share them with your children. My children are two grown young men who live in an entirely different world than mine.
I like to wake up early, say 6 or 7 a.m., start the day strong, then wind down in the evening, say 9 or 10 p.m., for the relaxing part.
They, on the other hand, consider an early start somewhere between 10 and noon, preferably closer to noon. They prefer winding down somewhere between 1 and 3 a.m., about the time I’m midway through my night’s sleep.
Compromise is a necessity.
When Debbie and I first realized the newspaper would still get out each week, even if I was gone the entire time, we started enjoying at least one week a year with Robert and Preston. Originally, I preferred working up a schedule to make sure we took advantage of every minute. Vacations are, after all, generally pretty expensive and being the cheap guy I am, I like to get my money’s worth.
Over the years I learned that wasn’t exactly the vacation they were after. Sure, they enjoy seeing new things and immersing themselves in cultures different than they are accustomed. But they also like lying around the pool doing nothing, or spending time in the recreation center working out or playing basketball and other games.
So now when I set up vacations, I do less scheduling. I still plan some activities, like golfing new courses, visiting national parks and taking in the uniqueness at each location. But I also leave several days where nothing is planned.
They like some structure, but now when they ask me what we have planned each morning (or noon) and expect an answer, I tell them it’s up to them to decide. It can turn into a lazy day, or one more full of activities than I had ever planned. We might go watch a movie, or just watch a video in our room. Or we might end up hiking several miles into beautiful canyons in a national park. This past week we did all those things, sometimes all the same day.
Fortunately, too, I enjoy a good hike. You can just ask some of my friends, who would prefer a swimming pool or taxi to a backpack and good walking shoes.
So when our vacation to St. George, UT, last week became busier than I had expected, it was okay. Not only did we do some climbing in one canyon, we also hiked several miles on another day through canyons that narrowed to the width of an American Falls city street with New York City skyscrapers of rock rising up each side. My friends in the taxis probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that part.
Along with the hiking, we did play a couple of days of golf, and still found time to visit with family in the area. And even though we did have some down time, it wasn’t enough, especially when the age of 60 approaches on the horizon.
The vacation was wonderful. Now I need another one to relax.