Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not Built for Vacations

Mrs. G. and I have been taking a vacation. This is only the fourth time since child #1 was born more than two decades ago that we have tried a just-the-two-of-us vacation.

Last Sunday we dropped child #3 off at camp. We have spent much of a week since then visiting Annapolis, dipping our toes in the ocean, traipsing Williamsburg, enjoying Charlottesville. We have visited lovely places, talked to locals, eaten good food, and, of course, enjoyed an array of independent coffee houses.

We have also fit in some visits with relatives, some professional conversations, and spent some hours each day reading and writing, assisted by the internet. This morning we sit in a fine local coffee house, Calvino's, in Charlottesville. I like Charlottesville. I realize, though, that I really appreciate it because, amidst the lovely, I have some work to do here. Just sitting in Charlottesville, or any place, would be enervating to me.

Mrs. G and I work every day. But I don't think we are workaholics. I think we do not need to draw a big distinction between work and the rest of life - especially not between work and play - because our work is not alienated - we do not simply sell it to another. We are very blessed in having such work. We also made a choice not to take the path where more of our work would be alienated, even if it paid more. Mrs. G is a Yale lawyer - she could have taken the path to quite high-paying, but alienated, work.

We are doubly blessed that our family life and our work are well integrated. This is also partly choice, and partly providence.

Work/life balance and alienated labor are two of the most important personal issues that sociologists have worked on in the past two generations. We are blessed to suffer from neither.

Which means that for the Gruntleds, the concept of a vacation does not really work.

No comments: