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Vacation Time

Ginny was 24 years old and had three kids, ages 4, 2, and 1. Her husband was an alcoholic and she kicked him out a month ago. Ginny was going ‘nuts’ (to use a very official psychiatric term). So she handed her kids to her Mom, headed to the emergency room, made up a story that she would kill herself by walking into traffic, and within no time she was admitted to the psych ward. When I met Ginny the next morning, she readily told me that she lied about being suicidal: “I just needed a vacation. My kids were driving me crazy and I needed a break. I couldn’t afford a hotel so here I am. It’s vacation time for me. Vacation!” I must admit I don’t much like that word, ‘vacation’. To my strange ear, it implies ‘vacating’, as if there are gaps and holes in our time. And time is our most valuable commodity. Don’t get me wrong - certainly times of rest, or of just being, or ‘chilling’ (as my kids like to say) are a necessary part of life; we need those times to restore our energy. And in that way this chilling is directly connected to when we are active, to our mission and purpose. So to me the verbiage ‘vacation’ could just be tossed aside. I prefer ‘holiday’. Of course, I shared none of this with Ginny who was in her own world. She was too busy enjoying herself on the psych ward, happy to be away from it all. It was clear that she had no interest in my meanderings about gaps and time. Sure enough, the next morning I daringly asked Ginny how her ‘holiday’ was going and she smiled and laughed and said: “great, doc, vacation’s over now! Can I go home?!”

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