If you’re not using all of your vacation days, you’re doing it wrong

Americans, there’s something wrong here. In honor of the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, let’s talk about the fact that you’re not using that independence to it’s full potential.

In a country where the average number of vacation days given is a whopping 10—as in 10 out of 261 work days in the year (that’s 3.8% in case you were wondering) my brain really just can’t process how more than half of Americans aren’t even using all 10 of those days.

There’s something really wrong here.

I may be different or freakishly travel-crazed or whatever, but being free for only 31 percent of my life (weekends + 10 vacation days ÷ 365 days of the year) just doesn’t sound cool to me. And to think of foregoing even one of those days seems criminal, really.

In case you can’t understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, I made you a pretty infographic based on a Glassdoor survey on vacation realities and State Department numbers on American passport holders:

People, wake up and live. There’s life out there. There’s world out there. You should see it, feel it, smell it, taste it. Work is work, not life. We have to learn to relish the gift of freedom, of being able to travel or take long walks in the park or spend time doing anything besides fattening other people’s pockets. It is essential. And we have to get away from this mentality that taking time off means we’re slacking. Taking time off is what gives you fuel for your hustle, what re-centers you, gets your mind right. It’s what reminds you of what you’re about and what’s important to you. Take that time off.

Be the person counting your vacation days to see how much you can squeeze in, and doing as much as possible with the ones you have, and milking every long weekend or tacking onto it to make mini vacays, and running out of days, and trying to figure out how to explain why you came back with a tan after taking a “sick” day when the vacation days do run out. Go. Vacation. Let’s not have this conversation again.