A couple months ago Time magazine ran a cover story titled "Save the American Vacation." The article detailed how corporate shifts and societal perspectives are steadily chipping away at a cherished institution: the summer vacation. A general decline in vacation days and an increase in workload is happening across the board for all ages, in particular millennials. As a newly minted adult about to head into college, I chorused a resounding "Amen" to the author's sentiments regarding the importance of taking a break. Repose is a huge part of summer, one that can get lost amongst the barrage of today's society.
In the months that cool lemonade glasses are sweating in the heat, it's often difficult to focus on your work. Whether you're a college student plugging away at a summer job, a soccer mom who works from home, or a senior citizen highly involved with city politics and gardening clubs, you can probably appreciate the benefits of taking a moment to unwind. For me, a sure escape from the mundaneness of everyday worries is through music.
Everybody has their own, highly personal routine to loosen up after the stresses of a hot summer day. If my dog chewed on my favorite pair of shoes, or I spill coffee on my lap before meeting a potential suitor, each little annoyance is doubly irksome when my waistband feels soaked in sweat.
Cue the classical music.
Sitting (or lying) down somewhere and basking in the modern miracle of air conditioning is occasionally enough, but when nothing calms me down like the ethereal escapism of Mozart. Relationship troubles? Let's sit through some Liszt and Chopin. Classical pieces can be my mental drinks of water, sometimes escapist and sometimes tranquil, depending on my level of sanity at the given moment.
The concept of taking a break never looms larger than in between June and August. However, sometimes a "break" is more mental than physical. Yes, we would all be very happy reclining on a Caribbean beach somewhere with happy-go-lucky reggae bumping in the background—but chilling the mind out is important too. Taking a moment for myself and kicking it to some Debussy is my version of a mental vacation.
This summer, I'm enjoying hanging out with friends and doing all the stupid things that young people do. Before I'm feeling too tired or stressed to make any good decisions, I might calm down and take a mental break with a Sonata. I'll take my mistake with a side of Stravinsky, please.
Clara Wang is a writer and musician living in Shoreview, Minn.