Saturday, July 9, 2011
Even retirees need vacations
Some people think of retirement is a permanent vacation. Those are the people who haven't yet retired.
Retired people find themselves busier in retirement than they did while holding down a job. They are trying to do all the things they promised themselves they'd do when Social Security kicked in and they could quit their day jobs.
Retired people (and by now you know I am using the term with tongue firmly in cheek) need vacations, too. Our vacation coincides with our family reunion and we plan it a year in advance because planning takes the tactical abilities of a four-star general. Once we vote on a location (this year it was the mountains), one person is charged with finding a cabin with enough rooms for everyone who wants to share expenses, a nearby pool for the kids and a hot tub for the adults. This takes time and a lot of e-mailing back and forth as everyone shares his or her opinion on the view, the amenities and the size of the kitchen or great room. Usually, this person resigns before the reunion is over, declaring they will never do it again, and another unwary soul takes up the challenge.
Then, when we get there, bedrooms must be allotted, cars unpacked, and volunteers solicited to cook the communal meals.
You'd think we'd know how to do this after all these years. When we started holding the reunions, our kids were younger than their kids are now. But, as always, everything worked out. The kids commandeered the game room and the adults took to the rocking chairs on the deck like turtles on a log. We older folks visited, read, or just sat with a cup of coffee (mornings) or a glass of wine(evenings) and looked at the view. The younger crowd went rafting or hiking and played miniature golf. One afternoon my sister, our niece and my daughter-in-law and I visited some arts and crafts shops and treated ourselves to lunch out.
This year was doubly special for me. We welcomed a new member, our son's fiancee; and all three sons and their families were present. I think the last time this happened was at a wedding or a funeral; I can't remember. And I don't think it will happen again for many years. One lives in Georgia, one in California and one in Virginia. They all have jobs and responsibilities that make long-range planning difficult. Two just started new jobs and we were thankful they could get time off at all.
The days passed much too quickly. We packed our bags, said our goodbyes, and one by one returned to our homes and responsibilities.
And, we're already planning for next year. I don't know where it will be yet, or who all will be able to be with us, but I'm ready.
By then I am sure I will need not just a vacation, but the joyful reunion of family.