I remember the feeling of freedom when I got to college – I could get up when I wanted (except for those dread 8:00 classes), go down to the basement vending machine for a brownie and coke when I wanted (very bad), go to bed when I wanted.

For years after I graduated (except for an ignominious period in Germany being a clerk-typist) I worked in research, first for a psychoanalyst and then in marketing research, where, pretty much, you determine your own schedule. And so it was quite a shock when I moved into marketing, where the brand manager is the hub of the wheel and nothing gets done unless the spokes get met with. In other words, for ten years I was controlled by my calendar.

Same thing for another ten years in my consulting company, where I had that “if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” feeling.

All of which is to say that now, after all those years, I finally feel free again.

I love the way what I do is governed by the seasons and the weather (another way of being controlled, actually, but it feels more harmonious somehow). And now that I’m about to go away, I’m feeling nostalgic for this life. (If I get to feeling nostalgic for the news, for Weiner and DSK and whatever sexcapades are still lurking, I can just remind myself I’m going to the place with the father of all sex scandals – just have to work on my Italian a bit.)

That’s the beauty of vacations, though – they paint everyday life with a patina of nostalgia so that, no matter how good a time you’ve had, you’re happy to get back.

I’ll check back in here once the paint and the jet lag have worn off.

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