In the life of an airline pilot (as with most professions), few things are anticipated and welcomed as much as scheduled vacation time. The lures of two weeks of relaxation, an unencumbered calendar, and limitless possibility for doing as one pleases always loom large in the weeks and days leading up to the blessed day.
Why, then, do I dread my time off? Perhaps, it's because I know that it will pass too quickly; I will accomplish only half of the monumental to-do list I've built. I will squander too much of it doing things I usually do on layovers in far-away hotels, such as reading books or exploring the internet. My expectations for the time off will be too lofty, as usual.
But perhaps, it's much simpler that all that. Perhaps I dread my time away from what can only be called one of the greatest office windows around. No one in the "conventional" workplace, not even the loftiest CEO or the smuggest politician, sees what I see when they go to work. From my workspace, I can look out at thousands of square miles of the planet in one glance. Light and shadow meld into scenes that defy description. Nature shows her utter dominion over man. Realms unfold as if painted by masters. Mountains of clouds, stacked to the upper reaches of the sky, release their energy in violent zig-zags of light. Colors shimmer through their spectrum. On even the rainiest day, I can enjoy sunshine within minutes. Godlike, I can cause the sun to rise in the west, if only for a little while. Time itself is even shifted by my passage -- an experience no other endeavor grants or asks of its participants. Day turns to night turns to day as I pass through the ether, quietly watching the earth revolve under my feet. Shooting stars and comets and aurora and circular rainbows and St. Elmo's Fire entertain me. Red sprites shoot into the heavens.
Away from all of this, I am restless. Can you blame me? So it's the mundane that causes my vacation anxiety. I might have to take a trip somewhere, just so I can look out of that special office window again. In the mean time, I'll try to enjoy what normal people enjoy. It'll be tough.