Are we there yet?
Are Americans using vacation to recharge, regroup and get healthier and happier?
So says an environmental psychologist in Sweden.
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Terry Hartig thinks we should take more vacation because it's good for us. He even says we should all take our vacation at the same time. That way, an entire society could hum to the contagious benefits of "collective restoration."
I thank former Island Packet reporter Brigid Schulte for forcing me to stop the car and at least pose for a snapshot in front of this bodacious idea. Brigid wrote about it in The Washington Post, where they say she "writes about work-life issues and poverty, seeking to understand what it takes to live The Good Life across race, class and gender."
Since blowing this Popsicle stand, Brigid has been part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize, gotten married to a husband with the high-pressure job of covering the Pentagon, and become the mother of two children.
Her book -- "Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time" -- has caught the eye of The New York Times, Terry Gross of "Fresh Air" and many others.
Brigid reports that even in the only nation with an advanced economy that has no national vacation policy, American workers tend not to even take what they have. We're taking less vacation than in 1975. We now average five hours rolling through a massive national park, taking pictures of its wonders through the car window.
It's funny that on Hilton Head Island, where the workers rarely dip a toe in the ocean, we stress ourselves out so that our guests can de-stress.
Charles E. Fraser, who founded Sea Pines in 1957 saying he wanted to help American leaders to relax, told John McPhee in "Encounters With the Archdruid" that "a fundamental part of the pursuit of happiness is one's annual vacation."
But his daughter, Laura Lawton Fraser, said in a history of Sea Pines, "We didn't take the traditional family vacations. We'd visit seven different European countries in 10 days. We'd see the key elements of each place, and then he would press us about what makes that city great and what could be done to make it better. It was exhausting."
I don't think we have to worry about Americans all taking vacation at the same time. We can't even close shop on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons anymore. These were givens when I was a boy.
If everyone vacationed at once, we working blokes in a state where tourism is the top industry would have a lot of "vacation" time we didn't want or need.
But we can learn a lot from this dissection of the rat race that we are here to cure.
The Lowcountry shouldn't worry about being bigger and better with more, more, more.
We should overwhelm the world by being quieter, slower and less crowded.
Are we there yet?
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.