how i spent my summer vacation

I know how to work, but I never learned how to enjoy time off. I finished grading finals early this term, because I wanted to make the very most of the time I have off. But now that I'm off, I find it's very hard to get anything done, and I'm beating myself up over not doing it.

I feel this constant, nagging voice telling me to leave, to go somewhere. It's as if the "down time" I get during the term is no longer valid. Now every second is ticking, ticking. I try to pack in so much fun that I'm not having any fun. If I'm shopping too slowly, I feel the pull of the clock. If I'm sleeping, I feel an urge to get up and prepare for a trip.

Planning and preparing for trips causes me anxiety; I always worry and over-pack. But once I'm on the road, my anxieties melt away. Only once in my life did I feel a sense of utter abandon, where I could just pick up and leave without guilt. This was immediately after my summer field geology course, where I had been living in tents for 6 weeks. Once the class was over, it was another two weeks before I slept in a bed regularly, because I felt such an impetus to just _not be home_. Having running water and electricity didn't seem right anymore. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom to grab my tent and sleeping bag and just go.

The trips I'm planning are all solo. I think that is the root of some of my anxiety. It's not particularly dangerous to backpack alone, but I have on one occassion shifted a rock by standing on it so that I was pinned. Luckily, I had a partner that time who helped free me. Otherwise ... I guess it would have been time to sever my foot. :) This isn't what worries me, though.

What worries me is the long days and nights alone, without distraction, with only the poor company of my thoughts. Sometimes I feel distressed if I drive even a short distance without the radio playing. I need something in the background to keep the thoughts at bay.

Of course, having these long periods of silence is what appeals to me. I have spent days where I haven't spoken a single word. I have spent days where I haven't seen another human being. I have gotten to know myself better, and what I know is that I would be much happier with company. :)


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