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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Some folks don't mind leaving a phone number or taking a Blackberry on vacation. I used to hate it, especially when we came to Maine. It was so wonderful to be here that I anticipated coming with a visceral longing, as if the point of the whole previous working year was to earn enough time to leave it behind. It wasn't particularly healthy, I guess, to have this split. The first few days off were spent just cleansing the mind of all the work stuff, the last day or two (the last day always seemed to be a Sunday, bringing back horrid memories of school on Monday and many hours of homework still to go) were spent dreading going back, and if you only had a week off, what does that leave you with? Gastrointestinal reflux....

It might be better to integrate a little better, to take more time away from work but in the modern telecommuting way bring it with you. Or should we keep the sharp split between work and leisure? Unfortunately for most, work is so demanding or tedious or dangerous or just plain distasteful that you have to get away, resulting in the peculiarly American frantic vacation. Europeans seem to take more leisurely holidays; of course, they have twice the time off we do. But they work harder during the year, or at least that's my impression, or maybe it's that they don't mind mixing business and pleasure, say on weekends, knowing they can be completely free in the Dordogne for weeks at a time.

Now that I'm doing a different kind of work, and am spending a lot more time in Maine, the boundaries are blurring and I don't mind doing a little email on a Thursday morning. The world seems much kinder when you're not striving so hard.

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