Vacations, Long Weekends, and the Like

*singing* “… School’s out for summer!” Remember this Alice Cooper ditty, “School’s Out”? This song was such a mega hit because we baby boomers could relate, after months of captivity, to busting out of school for the summer. Nothing could match the thrill of no more getting up early or having to do homework. We’d finally be able to goof off all day!

But then we grew up and began work, which, for many of us, meant years and years of deadlines, meetings, bosses, paper pushing, e-mails we couldn’t ignore, and co-workers and employees we’d never choose to spend a minute of time with outside of the job. We were captives once more!

Have you seen the video of the dog leaving work on a Friday? This funny video conjures up the feeling of being free if only for a couple of days. The anticipation could be grueling, and all that energy gets released … finally!

Most people rush through their working lives and aim to retire at 45. In this day and age, however, that is well beyond the reach of most workers. Other workers aim for retirement at 65-70, closer to the guidelines set by the Social Security Administration. Then there are a few diehards who wait decades beyond the traditional time to retire. Don’t forget about people who can’t or never choose to retire at all but work instead until their last days on earth.

For most of us retirement finally comes and, poof! vacations were gone, and paid holidays were gone, and long weekends were no more. I mean, they still exist, just not for those of us who used to rely on them for a break. Our Saturday and Sunday can now be the same as our Tuesday and Wednesday. Long holiday weekends these days mostly mean more people on the road and in the stores.

Yes, through retirement we now enjoy continuous free time to do whatever whenever. But still … there is a feeling that something was missing. Where did the excited anticipation of unbridled freedom go?

Perhaps it’s just me … being selfish or wanting more. More what? Time? More of that feeling of busting out? Maybe I’ve gotten so used to retirement that I take for granted so much free time. If so, that’s sort of sad.

Many people are still working, still craving and looking forward to vacations and long weekends, much like that wiener dog in the video. While I’d never trade retirement with work, I admit I miss that level of anticipation and excitement of pending freedom.