Maybe it’s a product of having a busy life and many interests, but I long for the day when I can take a vacation and for it to be entirely made up of time to put my feet up, read a good book and just relax in well-earned peace and tranquility.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a home owner. I also love taking care of my investment. The problem is that through a normal work week, when you factor in time for social activities, writing, cooking, cleaning and laundry, there isn’t much time or energy left to bring out the power tools and the paint cans to knock things off my home maintenance to-do list.
And even when I do set aside time for do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, I want it done right the first time. I don’t want to rush the project and risk making a mess. For that reason, it needs a generous time allotment.
It would be one thing if I had no natural inclination for DIY projects or if I hated them, but I don’t. I actually think they are a joy and a privilege.
The worst part is that I am responsible for the to-do list and I tend to expect a lot of myself, so the list does get a little ambitious.
That being the case, the list of projects often get deferred to the only time where time and patience are in good supply: vacations… or should I say, stay-cations.
As a first-time homeowner, it seemed like DIY projects were a fun thing to do. I always got great satisfaction from a pristine, freshly painted wall and baseboards showing no scuffs. The same applied to any project that improved organization and efficiency, something that had a lasting effect, well into my week-to-week routine. Yes, I find euphoria in the strangest places.
Plus, because the home improvement activities are so different from what I do at the office, using different muscles and different energy, I do feel some degree of rejuvenation from switching up the routine. Also, many projects require being deeply in the moment, which is also beneficial for mind, body and spirit.
But as time marches on, as I get older and decrepit, and in seeing my precious vacation days go “poof”, I find myself debating the merits and the joy I derive from doing it myself.
Last May, for example, I did have an overly ambitious to-do list ready in my back pocket. In retrospect, I think I overdid it. Even though I allowed myself time to relax and enjoy those days off, by the time I got back to the office, I didn’t feel particularly refreshed or that I just came back from vacation.
However, the payoff came in the weeks that followed. After I returned to the work routine, my evenings and weekends seemed far more relaxing. I didn’t have that constant feeling like I did back in school, when I was doing something and felt I should have been doing homework instead… the DIY list was not rumbling around in my subconscious. I felt free! I felt liberated! I felt I could genuinely enjoy late spring and early summer… until a new list started forming.
But I have to admit, I am really looking forward to retirement when I can do those things around the house as they are needed, not just around my precious limited vacation schedule.
For now, my intuition tells me that the trick is to establish balance so the entire vacation time isn’t consumed by DIY projects to the point of resenting them.
Also, it is important to have reasonable boundaries around vacation time. It is intended to replenish one’s energy, not to tap it out further.
I found that the way to strike a happy medium is to have the to-do list ready, but not with the intent to complete everything. It’s about a reasonable combination between structure (knocking things off the to-do list) and “unstructured play time”… guilt free!
By listening to my body, not overdoing it, and enjoying the DIY projects as long as they’re fun, it’s all good.
When time runs short or it’s not fun anymore, it’s time to call a professional and to get some quotes.
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Have a great day,
3 responses to “When Vacation Time Becomes Home Maintenance Time”
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