McGoff: Go on vacation

May 9, 2012
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wellness-mcgoff-sharonWhat do you want to do/be when you grow up? How many thousands of times were you asked that question? How did you answer? Did you say:

• I want to work long hours, maybe 17 hours a day and be continuously tied to my job via email and phone;

• I want to gain 20 to 50 lbs and take medications that cause unpleasant side effects;

• I want to have poor quality and quantity sleep, maybe getting five hours a night. I want to have insomnia, worry about everything, feel constant stress, and I don’t want to take time to rest and rejuvenate;

• I want to have a spouse, children and friends, but I don’t want to spend any fun, adventurous or relaxing times with them;

• I want to have hobbies, but I don’t want to have time to enjoy those hobbies;

“Yeah, that’s what I want to do/be when I grow up!”

I’ll bet no one reading this replied with anything close to these responses, yet doesn’t this sound a bit like your life now? Is this really what you want? Take a good, hard look in the mirror and decide. You are the only one who can make the changes.

Taking a vacation this summer is a great opportunity to spend time thinking about what you want to do/be. Many attorneys don’t take vacations because they don’t have “time,” or if they do take vacations, it really isn’t a vacation because they are forever tied to the office in some electronic way and they feel guilty about being away. Yet, everyone agrees that vacations provide us with: 1) a mental health break from the rigors of our jobs; 2) an opportunity to reconnect with and nurture the relationships with our families/friends; and 3) the chance to explore new places, have fun and learn new things.

A recent survey revealed 90 percent of American workers reported feeling rested, rejuvenated, more productive and more appreciative of their jobs and bosses after they had taken a vacation. Psychologists agree that people who do not take vacations (including vacations away from your electronic portable devices) have an increasingly difficult time relaxing in the future, thereby compounding stress and stress-related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and depression. Their bodies never get a chance to go through a much-needed process of restoration and they exist in a continuous stress environment.

So, where does this lead us? To my not-so-infamous three-step process. Step 1: Schedule your vacation. Step 2: Let everyone know you will be unavailable – translation: “you will not be checking your electronic devices!” After all, if you were a patient in the ICU of your favorite hospital, no one could reach you there, and this is where you might be heading if you don’t make an effort to take a much-needed vacation. Step 3: Do something new and different on your vacation. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Think about it – we are creatures of habit. Change really freaks us out. We drive the same way to work, eat the same food, watch the same TV shows, blah, blah, blah. Do something new on your vacation! Your brain and inner child will thank you.

Words of advice

If you are new to the idea of taking a vacation and want to test the waters, take one day away from the office to do something fun in your area: visit a local park, rent a bike, canoe, read that book you got for Christmas, snuggle with your spouse as you enjoy a picnic. Chances are, you will have so much fun and feel so relaxed that you will be eagerly planning your next adventure. If you want to enjoy a longer vacation, maybe three or four days, consider exploring our great state from top to bottom or left to right. Visit a festival in a small town you’ve never seen, explore one of our wonderful state parks, discover a farmer’s market in another town for fresh produce, attend an outdoor concert or sporting event … even a Little League game to bring back memories of fond days gone by when your son or daughter played ball. The sky is the limit, which is another thought, how about skydiving? If you have more than three or four days to take a vacation, wahoo!!! Seek out a new location, one that has been on your list for years and explore this new territory with vigor and wonderment.

My hope for you during this vacation and beyond is that you will have reconnected with your family, yourself, your values and your inner child, and you will return to the office with a better idea of “what you want to do/be when you grow up.” Just remember, don’t ever grow up!•


Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches, Inc. She owns Fit 4 Life Coaching and welcomes your questions or comments at The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.