So, let me break it down for you. Here we are again, at the end of March/beginning of April, and you’re well aware that 90% of people your age, or slightly younger, are going on vacation. However, you’re not one of them.
You get to see the Instagram photos, Snapchat stories, and Facebook statuses about lounging by the beach while you’re at work. This is the classic too-old-for-spring-break syndrome. At one point or another, everyone goes through this terrible point of time when they aren’t in school anymore with a week-long break dictated to them and they don’t have enough vacation days at work to swing a trip whenever they please.
It’s hard but it is going to be okay… eventually. You can pass your springtime by hanging out with your dog (if you’re lucky enough to have one), going to the park, or watching Netflix if you don’t feel like making an effort. However you choose to deal with this predicament, though, you eventually have to accept that you no longer have a spring break in your life. You no longer have an excuse to take a vacation, drink too much, and stay up partying too late. So, for those painful moments when you’re looking at your inbox instead of looking at a sunset or margarita, here are the stages of grief you may experience as you sadly accept the fact that you are too old for spring break.
As is the case with most types of depression, you’ll start off by being in a state of denial. You’re not worried about your lack of vacation this spring. You’ll start off at the beginning of March feeling as though you’re super motivated and eager to focus on your career. This false sense of security will last a few weeks until your younger siblings post about spring break. “Ah, to be young again,” you’ll think to yourself. But, you’ll reassure yourself that your liver couldn’t handle it anyway, and you’d rather avoid the sleep deprivation. That is until the next stage of spring sets in…
I mean, it’s still true that you’d like to skip the horrible hangover, but as the winter weather drags on a little longer than you’d like it to, you find yourself periodically checking your friends’ vacation photos. It’s not your fault. They are seriously all over the place. Almost unavoidable, really. But hey, without that vacation, you can save your money!
That thought quickly turns into, “…or, I could do something else with my money…” This new thought preoccupies your mind for a week or two. A few new outfits could help ease your pain, right?
8. The Grass Is Always Greener…
You can’t stay focused on work anymore. It’s so nice outside that you barely need a jacket. You realize that while the weather is in the 60s and you’ve had a few days without rain, your sibling just posted a photo to Instagram with a Rum Runner in their bathing suit. Maybe your spring weather doesn’t really compare to an actual spring break…?
You know you can’t go to the beach so you are happy to be able to go get ice cream from your favorite ice cream parlor and take in the sun, and only occasionally look at the social media posts from everyone on vacation. This may change though when you realize…
7. Is Everyone Going To Vegas?
You have just accepted the fact that you’re not in college anymore but you’ve also discovered that all of your old classmates are going to Vegas over the next two weeks. Literally, all of them. It might be a bachelor party or a birthday party but for some reason suddenly everyone is going and you can’t go. Jesus, don’t your friends work? Why do I have to work? This leads to your next thought, which ends with…
You’ve complained to your friends about not being able to go with them to Vegas and your friends so kindly point out that if you really wanted to go, you could make it work. This inevitably leads to you thinking that maybe you can make it work.
Stop right there!
No you can’t. If you could go, you would’ve already accepted the invitation or made plans to go on another vacation. Your friends want you to come along so they’ll try to point out that it really won’t cost that much when split between everyone. That’s just not true. It may be cheaper, but the minute you try to reason with whether or not you really need money to spend on groceries or if you can save it for Vegas, you’re getting sucked into their deceit.
Resist! Besides, those are precious vacation days that you were planning to use in the future. Don’t do it!
If you can’t join them (which you can’t), it’s time to forget about them! This stage includes trying to find new hobbies and things to fill your time
The weather is just starting to not completely suck so maybe you join a sports league or decide to grab dinner with the friends who are around still. But, at the end of the day, you’re making plans because you can’t sit at home all day wishing you were on a beach. Hell, maybe you’ll forget where you are if you find a bottomless mimosa brunch somewhere.
4. Planning Ahead
If you are truly struggling through spring without a vacation, you may even find yourself thinking about how you’re going to change things next spring to keep this situation from occurring again. This could means something simple like making sure to use your vacation days more sporadically throughout the year so you don’t feel like you’re going months at a time without a vacation.
For you extremists out there, going back to school for a graduate program may cross your mind. I just want to point out that you should feel free to go to grad school if you’d like, but it’s not worth going to back to school in order to just have breaks. Remember studying? Yeah it’s actually way worse than you remember, so before you decide a few more vacations are worth more debt and your time, keep in mind grad school is not college. Make that decision based on something else. You will get through spring soon enough.
3. Avoiding The Stories
As far as you’re concerned, you’ve survived the hardest part of the spring break blues. People are starting to come back from their trips and the photos aren’t as prevalent on your social media.
Now, you just have to stand strong as you avoid your friends who have just returned from vacation. You may be eager to spend time with those friends who are back in town but resist for a few days or you’ll be subject to all of their stories about the guy that “you would’ve loved” with the “abs that were almost as impressive as the yacht his parents lent him…” Do you really want to hear about this?
Photos on social media are at least more easily avoidable because you don’t have to look if you don’t want to. Stories, however, can arise at any given moment, so be warned. Nobody wants to hear about all the fun they’ve missed out on. Do yourself a favor and wait a week before texting Becky.
2. The End Of The Tunnel
Have no fear, spring break season is actually only about a month (or two) long so by this point in your grieving process, you’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of your friends have returned from their work vacations and your siblings have all returned to college so you can relax a little.
Everybody is going to be equally as stir crazy for summer to arrive, but at least you’re not alone in this sentiment. The first nice afternoon that falls on a weekend will bring day-drinking on a patio and you’ll remember that not every drink has to be enjoyed on a beach, or so you tell yourself.
1. Summer Is The New Spring Break
You made it (!!!) but that doesn’t mean that you’ve completely put it all behind you. You’ve experienced the sadness of staying home for spring break and you’re not going to move forward without a way to make up for it. You stayed strong for long enough, it’s time… for a vacation.
You call up your friends and ask where you guys are going on vacation this summer because you’re young and you deserve it. You’ve saved your money and vacation days, and you’re ready for this. Nobody is stopping you because you do deserve the break, so enjoy your cocktails and beaches while the spring breakers are at their unpaid summer internships or shitty summer jobs.