A lot of people seem to be upset that President Obama is going on vacation in the midst of so many national and international problems: an unsettled stock market, continued violence in the Mideast and general anger from voters in both parties about the way things are going in Washington, D.C.
But I think it's important to point out that the president just turned 50 and although he appears to be paying attention to his health at midlife, all of us who have reached the half-century mark understand the need to take a break.
Constant stress has a demonstrable physical effect. Just compare the way our most recent presidents looked at the beginning and end of their time in office. We're all getting older by the minute but for presidents, the effects of time appear accelerated.
And they all took vacation, too. According to CBS News, Obama has taken 61 vacation days in his 31 months in office. At this point in their presidencies, CBS says, George W. Bush had spent 180 days at his ranch, Ronald Reagan had taken 112 vacation days at his ranch while Bill Clinton had taken only 28 days. (Maybe that's because, unlike the others, he did not have a ranch to retreat to.)
None of these guys really got away from it all, of course. Modern presidents generally have their advisors on hand or on their BlackBerry's speed dial. Still, it's a healthy choice to experience a change of scenery and spend time with the family.
The president isn't the only one on vacation right now, of course. Congress is taking a break as well – and so are millions of us ordinary folks. We all need a vacation. Soon enough, the hard work will begin again.