It is July 2020 and we are in month 4 of the COVID19 Pandemic. So far Easter, my nephew’s college graduation, both my kid’s birthdays, the 4th of July, and who knows how many more special occasions will pass under this virus.
Who Needs a Vacation?
Many people in my orbit are either missing their vacations altogether or adapting them to satisfy the social distancing requirements in order to stay healthy. They are renting homes rather than going to hotels.
They are driving to their “Get Outta Dodge” destinations rather than flying. They are doing staycations locally just to get out of their office-homes.
And in the process, they are all losing their minds trying to figure out how they will do this workaround and still feel like they had their annual vacation.
For me, as a single parent I never really had the discretionary income to take my family on any vacations. That says a lot since I work in the Hospitality and Tourism industry and am able to get discounts on hotels. But discounts or not, the cost of transporting my crew of three in airfare or hotel fare was always just outside my comfort zone.
So, I got used to no vacations.
Even in the Pandemic, we are experiencing I had to take a pay cut and use some of my precious vacation days in order to try to make my income closer to whole.
Vacation days for me were never used for vacation. Historically I always used them when my kids were on holiday breaks from school like Easter and Christmas. I couldn’t afford to get babysitters when they were off. I also just didn’t want them to have their vacations to be staying with a babysitter. That just made me sick to do that to them. It broke my heart when they were cheated from any downtime as I was. They too needed to rest.
So much fuss about the loss of vacations during this Pandemic somewhat washes over me and I am sure other single moms too. A vacation is probably the last thing most single parents have the luxury of considering.
But I have been a single mom for 20 years so of course, my orbit of family and friends are older and about to retire or already have. They have time and money to do whatever they want. They also have never been single parents, faced with what I have.
My luxury choices have always been more along the lines, of going to Target to buy the kid’s toys and me something cute to wear. Outside of the mortgage, school tuitions, cost of groceries utilities, etc. I just never considered a vacation as an option. And obviously now in the midst of the COVID19 Pandemic that is definitely not happening since I had to take my vacation days to subsidize my paycheck.
I thought the hardest time in my life as a single parent was when the kids were young.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. It was hard. It was hard every day for a very long time. But I have now morphed to a new phase of hard.
I am now 60 years old. The majority of the people that I have in my family and social set are well to do, married and retired or about to. They have nothing but time, money, and support surrounding them. They are still so far away from my world. Even in the Pandemic, they all live in a comfortable bubble that protects them from any real danger.
They don’t work so they don’t have to leave home. They don’t work and are collecting retirement, so they are not faced with a threat of any layoffs or workweek reductions and pay cuts.
They do not work so they have nothing but time to grocery shop on the hours that are less populated.
They don’t work in the Hospitality and Tourism industry that has been decimated by the COVID19 Pandemic. My industry is currently experiencing 50% unemployment. Most of my work friends and colleagues across the country have been laid off. My own organization experienced a 75% workforce lay off.
So how in the world can I expect any of the people in my social orbit who are not being touched by the pandemic in any economic way, understand why vacations are not even a consideration or desire for me at this time?
So, what is a girl to do?
Well, to start I went back to school and took advantage of the time I was not travelling around the country for work in the tourism industry. I have had a lot of time to think about the past 20 years of my life. I have also had the time to put a wish I have had for this past 10 years into action and see it come to fruition.
I am just about to complete my certification in Life Coaching so that I can help other single moms navigate through the choppy waters of divorce, and co-parenting and all the other not so fun things that come along with the new order of family. I love it too. I never knew that I would feel so fulfilled than when meeting with people who you know in your truest heart that you are helping.
I have walked a million miles in their shoes and still do. It humbles me and fills me up at the same time. So maybe in this Pandemic a little rainbow shined upon me which gave me the space and time to do what I have always dreamed of doing. And maybe just maybe, this added role to my life will one day afford me the vacation I have had to forgo all those years. And maybe just maybe, I can help another single mom not have to give hers up by sharing what I have learned over the past 20 years.
That is, that you are important and deserve to take that vacation just like the rest of world. You deserve it more than the rest of the world actually.
So, let’s see what kind of good trouble you all can get into during this Pandemic. Let’s see how we can all stretch ourselves by taking a vacation as defined by how we want to define it!
Here’s to new beginnings; even in a Pandemic!