Maybe I’m just a work-aholic, but I had trouble engaging in total relaxation over the holidays. I did manage to read a few novels, do some skiing, visiting with friends and relatives and even slept in for an extra hour most days  (not quite as easy a task for us old farts, as in younger days!!).  But I also made time to finish a book chapter, read my email daily, assigned a few article reviews and did just a bit of net surfing and blog reading. Sort of what I refer to as a “balanced holiday”.

However, some people – and I count my good wife Susan in this crowd, contend that I need to get away from it all on holidays and make sure that everything I do,  can’t possibly be construed as ‘work’. I guess that is one the benefits/challenges of an academic (and increasingly other professional) lifestyle- not being able to clearly separate work from pleasure – home from office.

In a related if more omminous context, I overheard the conversations of my daughter (now finishing her PhD) and a friend who is a research assistant at a major Canadian university. They were talking about the lifelstyle of the researching/faculty members who they work with. Each noted that the pressure to get grants, publish, teach, research, advice, and deliberate on committees didn’t leave  time for anything else – non essentials such as family, community, church or sports. They both were wondering if the sacrifices demanded from the “never enough” world of academia are made up for by the freedom of time and place shifting that most academics (and especially those of us who teach online) enjoy. I guess I’ve gotten used to the fact that I never have enough time to read everything I should read, or play with every Web 2.0 tool that I find interesting, or even visit f2f or online with friends and colleagues whose company I know I would enjoy and learn from. But I’m a practiced multi-tasker and capable of getting done what absolutely must get done – until holidays come!!  Then time and anxiety about its effective use grows…..

This month our University came out with a new early retirement incentive, but gosh, years of holidays seems like a long time! I guess then I will develop my next career (after I decide what it is). Oh well, I guess I’ll muse on  Thoreau’s comment below and keep in touch with my inner ant!

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?“ – Henry David Thoreau

Hope you had a ‘relaxing’ holiday.