“Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility.”–Marcus Aurelius
People spend a lot of money and time so they can get away on splendid vacations. They dream of places like Hawaii, Bermuda, St. Thomas, or maybe a get-away to Europe or Disney World! Why do they do this? I think everybody needs a little time to recharge the batteries, to gain a little clarity or put it all into perspective. Also, I think that the stories we collect from our “get-aways” can last us a lifetime.
For the most part, though, all of the benefit of a vacation is available to you right now. All you have to do is accept that it is all a game. It is all impermanent. Why are you chasing what you are chasing? To have luxury? So your kids will have riches or security? Will it help them? You might be unemployed, so you are stressed about that. You might have absolutely nothing. Most of you reading this have at least some level of subsistence, though. If you are reading this, at least you are alive, which is something for sure. Even those with some major struggles, have a little time for a vacation, even one for 5 minutes.
You can get away right now. Retire in your mind, and be grateful for all you have…for your life, your surviving family, the meal you will eat today. Take a nap, watch a show, read a book, watch a TV movie with the family. If only for a few minutes you can get away. Maybe simply to reflect on what is virtuous, or on the impermanence of existence.
As for vacation stories, your everyday life is full of them. Especially the small misfortune stories! These are the blessings. Like the time you backed into a pole, or your wife hit the side of the garage. What about the morning you put your shirt on inside-out or backwards? Yesterday, my daughter came down dressed in green-striped pants, with a pink and yellow checkered shirt. Now that’s a story! I collect vacations five minutes at a time.
In the end, you will be gone. Don’t let this frighten you, just know that what you are after, what you are stressing over might not be that important. Even if it is, you can take a break from it.
You can take your “Staycation.”