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Annual vacations are time well spent

Column by Commissioner Cook

  • 18 August 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1853

Watching the lone surfer at the end of the day anticipating that last perfect wave to navigate error-free, I smiled soaking up the sinking sun. Each evening pelicans plunged headfirst from their varying altitudes into the ocean, sometimes with a slight twisting adjustment – angle is everything in capturing that fish.  While voraciously consuming novels, my sister and I have made this trip for the past nine years. We hike to our selected dining spots from a myriad of restaurant choices each evening – claiming to be burning calories. It is a laid-back lifestyle I could get used to. No porpoises or dolphins (did you know the orcas are the largest dolphins?) this year but also no visible sharks.

There are many county employees building large quantities of banked vacation hours. I suspect this happens in many work environments. Are you one of them? I encourage anyone doing this to rethink that approach and give yourself a break – it’s healthy and necessary for a more balanced life.  Getting lost in the adventures of a novel is an added plus.

A May 23, 2021, article in Forbes Magazine on the benefits of vacations mirrors the benefits I received getting away. In a poll, they found that 26% of Americans haven’t taken a two-week vacation at one time, supporting our reputation for being workaholics. The article also listed results of a World Health Organization’s research showing 35% higher risk of stroke with working longer than 55 hours per week and 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease working 35 to 40 hours per week.

With our attentions pulled to emails, social media, calendar alerts and phone calls – we all need to seek solace of isolation and rest. I come back, despite my vacation only being a single week, with a renewed sense of humor, fresh perspective and heightened commitment to the varied issues of public office. The Forbes’ article also spoke of the benefits of a relaxed mind. Relaxation on vacation mirrors the benefits of transcendental meditation, perhaps. I came back and even committed to replacing my 22-year-old van with an order for a 100% electric vehicle. 

Yep, my road trips may be clipped for a while as I wait for the construction of fast-charging stations throughout the county and across Texas – gone may be my backroads routes. I just can’t invest in another internal combustion engine. Even that frugal husband of mine is kind of excited with this newer technology and is investigating installing that fast-charging system in our garage. It will be interesting to see how it serves me in my around-the-region trips. Guess I will then need to always have reading material in the car.

This is the last year my sister and I will have our dear B&B to go to as it is being sold to a Northeast real estate conglomerate on Aug. 16. Sigh. Change, of course, is inevitable. We’ll spend the next six months seeking a new destination.

No hurricanes have hit the mid-Atlantic Coast or Texas so far despite expectation of a busy season. Fall could be rather exciting.

If you can’t get away, at least invest in yourself with a good book. The new Round Rock library is nearing completion. Take a trip in your head and sleep while dreaming about the story and characters. It’s good for the soul, brain and your blood pressure.

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