Sunday, 10 February 2019

On Holiday Every Day

A few months ago I posted a meme on Facebook. It said something to the effect that we should live a life we don’t need a vacation from.

I got quite a few comments retaliating that that is NOT possible, as well as that why wouldn’t one WANT to take a vacation?!

What the people who answered failed to understand was that there is a difference between a vacation and a trip. Of course life would be more boring for people who love to travel and discover and experience new places, traditions, settings without the occasional (or not just occasional) trip! But the meme never said not to travel or experience things. It merely said we should strive to have a life that we don’t need to vacation from.

Again here there was a further misunderstanding by all those who complained that it is not possible. Maybe they assumed I meant one should be on vacation all the time (ie give up their bread-winning job) or that they would, in order to live a life they love enough, have to give up on responsibilities they feel they cannot get away from. The truth, I find, is the total opposite.

Just because we need a bread-winning job should not have us working our ass off for forty hours or more a week in a setting that depresses us, abuses us, gives us little to no satisfaction whilst dangling in front of us a carrot that we are only allowed to touch at the end of the month.

That carrot, whilst organic and expensive, might be causing us so much stress to get at that we need to split it in two and give half of it to our pharmacist in exchange for headache pills or worse. I think you will agree with me when I say I much rather get a non-organic carrot that I can eat wholly myself and not have to eat up any of the pills in order to get to my NEXT reward carrot, in a never-ending cycle that follows on its tail month after month and year after year.

It is true that we all want a job that rewards us for our studies, money wise and in the type of career we pursue. However we should check whether those are actually the only reasons why we want it. After all, we spend countless hours at our workplace and even carry the resulting good or bad mood into our personal life after we leave the workplace behind for the day or week. Add to that, it makes a difference to our life and happiness to wake up in the morning to a job we enjoy and are excited about as opposed to when we must face a day already knowing we are going to a place we dread and that we would rather not spend our time at.

Money, money, money. Don’t blame the money. As I said earlier, better a lower pay doing a job we love than a higher one that we must then share with anyone from the pharmacist (or worse the therapist) to the takeout place on the corner four times a week for not having time or energy to cook a healthy homemade meal.

Given that life is made up of much more than just our job, I am sure that some people would still argue that changing the job for a lower paid one will not do much to help us with other facets of life that tire us out and make us look at that vacation as a paradise we must strive to get to. If anything, they will say, a lower-paid job will hinder our affording a holiday to get away from it all! Get away from what exactly? Despite the grind of daily chores, the tiredness that comes with parenthood and the hundred-and-one commitments we take on feeling we can’t do otherwise, I would say most of the time it is our perception that should change in order to feel that life is a vacation all the time.

Let’s start with checking all those commitments and being honest with ourselves as to why we take them on. Some might be in our schedule more out of guilt than anything else. Like why are we rushing the kids to three extracurricular activities a week? I am sure our children benefit more from having less stressed-out parents than from catching up with everything. After all, even they need a rest that they might not be getting! Why did we say we would be glad to be on a the Parent Teacher Committee if we then grumble about not having the time for it? Don’t feel guilted into anything thinking otherwise they’ll be short-staffed. There are always people willing to do a job out of their own free will and for their own satisfaction and your own time might be better employed getting a well-deserved rest that makes all the difference when you come to tackle the commitments you actually care about.

Only a lucky few afford regular maid service so it would be unrealistic to suggest that you delegate that work to an outsider in order to switch your mind to eternal-holiday-mode. However I would be surprised if anyone at all minded the daily chores if their minds and bodies were not already overtired from a despised job and an endless list of errands. It truly is a balancing game I find.

I could preach till tomorrow about making the changes that make most of the difference to living a happy life. But that is the point of it I guess; to live a happy life! Who needs a vacation from Happiness? No one, Ever!

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