You might be an entrepreneur if…in the six years you’ve been married you’ve never taken your wife on a vacation.
It got up to seven years, but right after our seventh anniversary we actually took our first vacation. We went to Oregon for a week and stayed with friends in Portland and Seaside. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another seven years to do something together.
During the seven years we’ve been married I’ve felt sorry for myself as I’ve watched school teachers going on cruises, research scientists skiing in the Alps, and social workers sitting on beaches in Hawaii. My wife and I have never been on a cruise or vacationed anywhere. We’ve been to bed and breakfasts in Utah two or three times, for one night, and we’ve been to some family reunions, but that’s it. I would like to have gone to Brazil last year to visit the people I got to know while I was a missionary there ten years ago, but instead we put $5,000 into fixing our cars so they could pass safety (note of advice: don’t buy an Audi unless you can afford the maintenance and repairs).
One thing that has been educational about this experience is observing my own emotions about “keeping up with the Jones.” I’ve found that when you don’t have something it seems as though everyone else does, and it seems like it would be great to have it as well. Once you get it, then you realize it’s not that big a deal, and sometimes having whatever “it” is comes with strings attached and you come to conclusion you would actually prefer not to have it. My aforementioned Audi is a perfect example. Now that I’ve had one I would prefer to have a cheap, reliable Honda that gets good mileage, has AC that works, cruise control that works, and that doesn’t cost $600 every time some little thing breaks or stops working. In other words, I’m taking the position that if I can’t have fancy vacations, I’ll convince myself I don’t want them.
Step one is to tell myself the purpose of vacations is to get some rest so you can return to work with more energy, and then to tell myself this is not what most vacations do for you. Sure, I’d like to travel the world and see different places and experience different cultures. I’d like to see Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Switzerland, but I get more rest by sitting at home eating ice cream and watching a good movie. When we finally went on vacation last month to Portland it was a change from working 12 hours every day, so in that sense it was a break, and we got to see friends and new places, which was fun, but relaxing? Only somewhat. Drinking a bottle of Nyquil and collapsing on the floor halfway to the bed is relaxing; hiking through a northwestern rain forest and ripping a hole in the crotch of my jeans is invigorating and inspirational, but not relaxing.
Step two is to feel pride for not going on fancy vacations and look down on those who do. C’mon, you know all those people going on vacations have all sorts of consumer debt. They’re living a lifestyle they can’t maintain. But I am in control of my finances and don’t spend what I can’t cover. I would rather work than go on vacation, because I’m a hard working guy. Those vacation people are lazy bums. Their elitest attitudes will be their downfall.
Step three is to believe that it’s not that I can’t afford the vacation, but rather I’m just too busy. Sure, I’ve got the money to go, I think, but the real reason I’m not going on vacation is that I don’t have the time. Sorry, too much work at the office! Things are going really well, and I’ve got to stick around because nobody works when I’m not around. Wait, not true, I know how to delegate and they work harder when I’m not there…no, actually they work the same–the same, whether I’m there or not…anyway, I’ve got a lot of work to do that only I can do so there’s just no way I can go on a vacation.
I jest, but there is some truth to all of it. Why have we waited seven years to go on a vacation? More than anything I’d say it’s entrepreneur’s guilt. The guilt an entrepreneur feels when leaving his business, even for one day. If you’ve never felt it, you may not be an entrepreneur. That guilt is part of what keeps me working long hours, weekends, nights, and without pay, with no end in site. Man, I need a vacation.Liked it? Share it!