Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Today is my first day back at work after a fast-flying seven day holiday.  I spent my time off reading (finishing Milan Kundera’s Life Is Elsewhere before gleefully diving into his Immortality, great binge, really enjoying his writing even though I’m ignorant to half the references), taking soundtracked walks around town and lying horizontally. Bliss, though throughout the week I couldn’t shake off the intense pressure of enjoying myself.  Each morning I woke in a panic, determined that today would be the perfect day, just the right mix between productive and restful with plenty indulgence and a sprinkling of self-reflection and discovery in between.  How could I achieve this with these enormous weights pressing into my skull and my chest, gripping at me and beating my hear faster in their clutch?  I spent so much time focussing on trying to relax that I couldn’t give myself the time to actually do so.

I fear this dilemma may be more common in our culture than one would hope, as we all live in this face-paced, high-tech all dancing society, where everything must be done quickly, we must constantly speed on with great efficiency through our jobs, house keeping and social networking, keeping the wheels constantly spinning.  We must live in large, beautiful houses, earned through years of university and progressive careers; throughout university we must make friends, join societies, organise protests, sign petitions, sing in the musical, participate in pub quizzes, take dance classes, lose our virginity, experience first loves, first flings, yet still study hard and earn firsts.  From there on we must go forth into the world and make a living, whilst grappling with the unanswerable question of what will the rest of my life be about?  Where to from here?  So we work hard and strive for more, more money, more respect, more experience, we return home exhausted with enough time to cook dinner before collapsing on the sofa and, with a documentary on in the background (must…not…stop…learning…), we fall asleep and awake at 2.a.m with chocolate on our neck.  Brush teeth, stumble to bed with socks on, rest, recharge, wake and repeat.  And so on, and on and on and on.  We forget to take time to just be, take a walk, admire something beautiful.  At least, I do anyway.  Then it gets the point where I’m desperate to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and it’s 6:15 on a Saturday evening and I’m counting the minutes until I’m ‘free’, wasting time resenting what should otherwise be a fairly enjoyable job.  Of course, come  7.00p.m, I rush home, mind full of plans and goals for the evening: recycling, sort clothes, put wash on, write in diary, cook dinner, spend time with B, have shower, eat, work on scrapbook.  Then the evening ends in a pile of washing up, dirty clothes, empty pages and scrambled eggs on toast.

I need to learn to just switch off, stop making lists that never get ticked and thus feeling the constant need to catch up, do more, achieve something.  I end up exhausted with so many thoughts and ideas that I don’t have the energy to achieve achieve any of them.  Too much time thinking not enough doing.  Waste of time.

So my aim of my holiday was to do one thing: slow down, enjoy.  I took walks up Calton Hill to watch the sunset over the city, I read my book, lazed on the sofa, reclined on the bed doing absolutely nothing.  Yet I still didn’t reach that point of truly enjoying something.  In the back of my head was that niggling ‘must so more’ gremlin that held me back from just letting go.  I couldn’t escape the thought that it’ll all be over soon as I go back to work in x days, so I had to enjoy myself now, now, NOW.

Back to work it is, and I’m determined not to let go of this idea of relaxation, I need to learn it. We mustn’t forget the importance of just blocking everything out and enjoying a moment, untouched by any other thoughts. Experience in it’s true form, as a truly virginal experience, born from the air, separate from infinity, like a new planet exploding into the solar system.

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