Taking A Break

Like many students, every winter throughout college I migrated back home to stay with my family for the holidays. The break would last about a month, wherein I would get horribly sick (let’s face it, I’d probably had a total of 5 hours of sleep during finals), lounge around the house in sweatpants, drink tea with my high school besties, and de-compress/de-stress from my grueling college semester.

I’ve now been out of college for over a year and am happy to report that, while I no longer get horribly sick when I return home (thank the heavens), for the second winter in a row I have had the luxury of spending 2-3 weeks with my family in their home on the Central Coast.

Now, if you’re still in college, you might not realize how envious some of my working friends are of my vacation situation. For most of us when we enter the working world, “winter break” becomes a phrase of the past. Instead of a month-long chill-sesh in December and January, one must continue with one’s job, hopefully getting the chance to spend a couple paid (and heavily rationed) vacation days with family and friends at one point or another during the holidays. This is the life of the working college grad. This should be my life, but for some very lucky reasons it has, blessedly, not been just yet. Here’s why:

My first year out of college I was lucky enough to have a boss who understood the necessity of being away from the freezing-ass cold of West Philadelphia in December and let me take a very generous break to be with my family in California (for the record, I did get some work done…some). Technically, I was on a paid vacation and, technically, I should have only been home for a week or less (thanks, VISTA), but, happily, I was able to have a “winter break” like the college kid I still felt I was. And it was lovely! When I returned back to work in January I was ready to tackle whatever grant proposal came my way! I had had my flu, I had relaxed deeply, and I had visited with the high school buddies that keep me going. It was great!

After my service year ended, I was lucky enough to have a “summer break” (read: lived off/spent all of my meager savings) before beginning work as a consultant in August. And then, due to the contractual nature of my new job, I received this wonderful little break in December, which meant, and means until next week, that once again I am on “winter break” when really I should be slogging away at an office somewhere wishing that my weekends were two days longer.

So, while I do not know how long this job will last and while I have yet to figure out my professional goals in life, I take comfort in the knowledge that while I am in this tele-commuting ”free-lance consultant” unstable/confusing/and bizarre point in my career, I get to spend my days wherever the fuck I want (ahem, can afford). And this holiday season, I am spending them curled up on the couch in my parents’ family room, trying to make out the words on my computer screen over the intense glare that is coming from the window behind me. It’s a rough life.

Yes, there’s a part of me that wishes I had a career with a steady income, but there’s also another part of me, and, let’s face it, in this moment a much bigger part of me, that’s so dang pleased that I get to spend this long stint of time back home. Maybe I’ll have normal adult vacations in this new year. But right now, I’ll bask in the glory that is free-lance employment and enjoy the last few days of my break. Suck it, bitchez.

This story was first posted on Beginners and titled “The Break.”

Image via b$/ram