Every summer for the last few years, I have had 8 weeks of vacation. And every summer for the last few years, I have felt compelled to fill every single second of those 8 weeks off with some kind of work, job or project. I’ve felt this intense pressure to have a great story of what I did with my time off to prove that I was somehow worthy of this time off. I break out in cold sweats just thinking about having to face my coworkers and their ‘So, what did you do over the summer?’ questions. It’s almost not worth the anxiety vacation causes.

It’s been pointed out to me that maybe this isn’t the point of vacation and maybe I’m projecting. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe my coworkers don’t care and are just making small talk. They’re probably not judging me at all if I don’t have a justification for my time off. Maybe I should calm the hell down.

But here’s the thing:

I am often very hard on myself.

I don’t listen very well when I’m not being told what I want to hear.

I am very stubborn.

I have anxiety.

It’s not uncommon for one to be hard on one’s self. Often we are our own worst critics and I’m no different. It’s also not unusual to not want to listen to someone when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear.

Why can’t each and every person in my life just blindly enable me to do what I want, by telling me exactly what I want to hear?

I am stubborn. Very stubborn. Which only exacerbates the fact that I’m both very hard on myself and don’t want to listen to people who don’t want to validate my criticisms of myself.

And lastly, I have anxiety. Anxiety likes to focus on something small and grow it into a big, paralyzing problem. It doesn’t have to be rational. It usually isn’t.

It’s a frustrating combination.

At least I’m willing to admit that?

Anyway. What is my point here? My point is that maybe it’s okay to take a break. Maybe you can just enjoy vacation time and not feel the need to defend the fact that you’re taking things easier.

Maybe I don’t have an epic story of how I remodelled my kitchen, built a nature sanctuary for donkeys, or hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. But that’s okay.

We all work hard. We’re all doing our best. And we’re all surviving through the darkest timeline right now.

Like, have you watched the news for longer than five seconds? Because I haven’t. Anything longer than 2 seconds shoves my anxiety into overdrive.

So I’m going to try to not guilt myself into having to prove that I made good use of my vacation time. I’m not going to be baited into feeling like I need an epic story or example of how I spent summer vacation.

I’m planning on a summer vacation that can be just that: vacation. And that’s okay.