This week and next, thousands of high school and college students will embark on the annual ritual known as spring break. They will fill hotels, crowd beaches and party in clubs long into the night. With the sheer number of young people present in these locations – the majority of which will be slightly to heavily inebriated – anything can happen.
That anticipation of the unpredictable defines the allure of spring break. And the alcohol…and the chance to “hook up.”
I’ve participated in three spring break trips in my life. The first was my senior trip in high school to a resort in the Bahamas. The next two were in college. One was with a group of guys (and my dad) to go caving in central Kentucky. On the other trip, I went with a co-ed group of friends and the future Mrs. Luke1428 to visit her father in south Florida.
None of those trips were to what I would call party central locations.
Each trip cost me hard earned money that could have been used for other purposes. I considered them worth it though for the memories they created. After all, isn’t the creation of memories a fundamental aspect of taking a vacation?
I can remember my spring break trips with perfect clarity…a hilarious photo of my high school friend sunbathing next to a gorgeous woman in the Bahamas…the onset of panic when one of my stout college buddies became stuck in a tight crawl of a cave…Kim and I enduring the ear shattering buzz of an air boat ride as we dodged alligators in the Everglades.
As you can see in my case, none of those memories involved crazy parties, getting drunk or having sex. I never considered Spring Break to be a coming of age rite of passage. Drinking until I wasted away and not being able to remember what I had done didn’t appeal to me either. The only message I could foresee from excessive participation in those activities was “DANGER…consequences potentially ahead!”
Which leads me to ask two questions:
1. Why would you spend money on activities that could have negative life consequences?
2. Why would you spend money on a vacation only to have incomplete or clouded memories of it?
Both questions are important and identify two issues prevalent in contemporary mindset, especially that of young people:
Question #1 identifies the “I’m invincible” mindset. The thesis here states that even though bad things are happening in the world, none of that will come home to rest on us. We fail to see any negative consequences coming from our behavior and believe that nothing will do us harm.
Question #2 relates to the “Live it up now” mindset. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Memories don’t matter as long as I’m gratifying my pleasures in the moment.
I can’t recall ever believing in the “Live it up now for tomorrow we die” philosophy. I attribute that to my faith but also from being raised by parents who never exhibited that attitude. Both kept me away from solely focusing on the moment.
In regards to negative life consequences from our behavior though…well, haven’t we all been there at some point. We have all faced dilemmas where our body wants something but our heart knows it’s wrong. In those moments, our mind must decide which path to take. Often our choice is an incorrect one and we then face the emotional and physical consequences that come from the decision. Those decisions are compounded even more so with error when not made in one’s right mind.
As difficult as it is to make a wise choice, why intentionally put yourself in a position that will require such a choice?
I don’t know how much the average spring break trip costs. It would seem reasonable that with transportation, hotel accommodations, food and entertainment for the week, a person is looking at between $500-$1,000 minimum, depending on the destination. Maybe you could get by with less than that with some great budgeting or special packages.
I’m not here to judge anyone’s actions in the present or the past. We are individually accountable for the decisions we make. I’m simply asking the question: “considering the consequences that could come, will a crazy spring break trip be worth it?” If it were up to me, I’d rather be able to relive the memories of my trip and experience no pain or suffering because of what I had done. Anything less than that, I would consider an undisciplined waste of money.
What spring break trips did you take in high school or college? How much did you spend? Were the spring break activities out of hand or pass without incident? Did you ever regret anything or did you experience negative consequences from an activity? What do you do when your body wants what your heart knows is wrong?
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