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Vacation Refreshment and Repercussions

We tend to take vacations to give ourselves rest, relaxation, and possibly some recreation to help us recover from our energy-depleting labors. Then why is it that we so often return from those vacations feeling more tired than we were when we started them?

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I rose earlier than our already early rising time to commence our vacation. It was spring break, and we wanted to beat the crowds that we knew would soon be hitting the interstate and arrive at our destination in time to shake the kinks from our backs that were brought on from our sitting so long in a speeding car.

We arrived at my brother's and sister-in-law's house in Ocala in midafternoon and enjoyed a time of relaxing conversation, touring their new home, and catching up on our extended family members. We ate supper at their club, rested well that night, and the next day had a leisurely late breakfast and more conversation. After saying our goodbyes, we continued on the last leg of our journey.

Shortly after lunchtime, we pulled into the driveway of my father-in-law in Southwest Florida. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing, and the reunion was indeed invigorating.

During the week, we relaxed around the house, enjoying the company of my 95-year-old father-in-law and his 96-year-old sister. The sun shone every day (only one day was overcast for a few hours), and the temperatures, though warmer than we had had in South Carolina, were comfortable.

My wife undertook to paint a small hallway that her sister had not yet completed and prepared our meals. I read a book on the 18th century by Neal Postman and prepared and presented a message at my father-in-law's church on Wednesday evening. We had no pressures, no problems, no worries.

Then came Friday and the highlight of our vacation: a spring training game between the world champion Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox at the Braves' Cool Today stadium. The weather was perfect, bright sunshine with a strong breeze blowing from left field to right field. We had good seats just down from first base and the Braves' dugout. Moreover, the Braves played well and won 6-3.

Unfortunately, vacations end. We said our goodbyes on Friday evening and slipped from the house early the next morning, making the entire journey all in one day. We knew we would be tired the next day, but we arose surprisingly refreshed from a good night's sleep and attended our

regular church services.

But then came Monday morning, and the physicality of the whole vacation experience seemed to come crashing down around us. We struggled to wake up. We struggled to get moving. Nothing seemed to work, including our computer connections when we tried to catch up on the accumulated messages and news. Our to-do lists seemed to grow longer and our energy levels never rose at all, no matter how many cups of strong coffee we consumed.

Does the aging process include difficult post-vacation recovery periods? Is this something else to which I have to look forward?

I think I need another vacation. Soon!

Oh! Wait a minute! This is April Fool's Day! Could that vacation and the repercussions we felt be a bad joke?

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