Here I sit on our flight back from a 6-day vacation in Aruba. We left a temperature of 90 degrees and we are heading into a frigid 2 degrees (not including the wind chill). That’s an 88-degree downgrade in happiness. Any questions, see my last blog regarding why the hell I still live in New England.
But enough self-pity, I’m blogging for the greater good today! I want to talk about the social acceptance of vacation time and why it is NOT OK.
I ran for class president in junior high school. If I remember correctly, my platform included things like “more brownies in the lunch plan” and “longer recess time.” More importantly, “more days of vacation!” Mind you, this was a time of life where my biggest concerns were who I was going to hang out with at recess and whether or not that cute little blonde girl really passed a note about me in science class. Yet, one of the most important items on my constituents’ minds was MORE VACATION TIME.
Now, here we are as adults. Summer vacation was yanked out from beneath us like a tooth tied to a doorknob. Society has accepted the fact that we are “allowed” to truly relax for just 3 weeks/year…if we’re lucky. Often, one of those weeks is spent doing yard work or tending to a loved one.
OK, so we live in one of the most productive societies on earth, I get it, but can’t there be a middle ground? Our presidential candidates stand at the podium and preach about healthcare reform and no new taxes and immigration reform and military action, and on and on. I will vote for the candidate that gets up there and pledges to mandate a government sponsored vacation plan. We could call it the Quality of Life Act. I want a candidate to say, “You pay taxes and work your ass off all year, well we’re going to reward your effort with an extra week on us! God bless you and God bless America! Oh yeah and more free brownies!”
While we were in Aruba, we met a nice couple from Sweden. They were staying in Aruba for 2 weeks because they have 7 weeks of vacation. SEVEN WEEKS!!! He also mentioned that with benefits like that came a much higher tax rate than the US. He was very intrigued by all aspects of the American way of life, but admitted that our measly 3 weeks was ridiculous. In all honesty, I think 7 weeks is a little unrealistic for a workaholic country like the United States, but 4 or 5 weeks sounds pretty reasonable. Imagine a world where instead of our Federal Government saying things like “you must pay taxes” they say, “You must take 5 days off from work and enjoy yourself!” Yeah, I know. World peace would be nice too. I can dream can’t I?!
I’m not looking for a handout. I don’t want the government to have to pay for my vacation. Maybe the government offers a tax break to the companies we work for so that they can afford to give us a break for an additional week. I think you can tell by the nature of this blog that I haven’t exactly thought this whole system through. I’m just a guy who doesn’t want to leave the sunny Caribbean!