Just do it!

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- You earn 30 days of leave each year. Do you plan out your vacation, spend your leave on extended weekends, or just a day here and there? Or like many friends I know; go see family every year for the holidays, birthdays and other family events. Those are important events and vacation time well spent, but have you ever thought that next year is the year you go on a cruise, to the Bahamas, take the family to the Grand Canyon, or to Disney, etc...? If you're like me, we were always planning for "next year" to take a nice, relaxing vacation. But the next year would come and go, and for a multitude of reasons we just never got around to taking that vacation.

Throughout my career, much of my leave was spent going to see family once or twice a year. Other days were taken to spend time with my family on extended weekends in the local area. Many of these trips were not the relaxing vacation I had envisioned. We did manage to take a few "vacations" over the years, or at least what I would consider an actual vacation. At the end of those vacations, we always said "let's do this again next year", or "why did we wait so long", or "that was not enough time".

Several times we had vacations planned and a deployment came up, an unexpected TDY or an opportunity to attend a course for work. We just postponed our vacation plans until next year. While stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., we planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Something came up with work, so without much thought we quickly said we will just go next summer. After all, we had plenty of time left on station; or so I thought. We moved February of the following year (out of cycle), so off to Washington, D.C. we headed and needless to say; we are still planning that trip to Yellowstone.

Early in my career I was mentored by a colonel on the importance of taking a vacation. Basically his advice was everyone needs a break from the daily grind and everyone needs to recharge their batteries. He instructed me to make sure I took time off from work, actually take a vacation, and that I should not lose my leave. Seemed like pretty simple advice at the time, but as the years went by, I quickly noticed my leave balance would accumulate quite rapidly. Before I knew it, I had use or lose leave.

When will you take time out to recharge your batteries? I'm sure you will agree that there is never a perfect time and if you've fallen into the habit of planning that special vacation "next year", my advice to you is just do it and sooner is better than later.