Monday, August 29, 2016

Unpacking

As with most things, a person probably gathers many of their holiday preferences from their childhood. In a spirit of rebellion against or fondness for what the parents forced on them.

But, again, as with most things, watching toddlers is an interesting reference point. How does a person react to holidays at a tender age, before the parental influence has had chance to steep?

This summer, I've watched the twins' response to being away.

They enjoy a break from the usual routine and location: it excites them and they are happy to experience the new. They love company. But they are always excited to get home again, relishing romping around their territory and rediscovering their toys. When we're away, they get much more tired than they do at home - a daily nap is essential. Which is a little bit curious.

Or perhaps not so curious. On reflection, I see all these patterns in myself.

For me, a holiday is not being abroad, sunshine or luxury. It's just an escape from the usual pattern of events, places and experiences. That might be a weekend on a friend's floor, a wet fortnight self catering or a week on a Spanish beach. After too many months at home, my every day life starts to feel like a prison cell: I need to get away.

The removal of the familiar, though, is tiring as well as rejuvenating. I'm less in control of how the day will pan out. Even if I'm being looked after attentively, I'm a stranger to the environment or the requisite interactions, so there's a level of stress about making life happen. I, also, try to nap, usually nod off more quickly at night and lie in longer if given the opportunity.

When I get home, even if I've had a fabulous time, I'm pleased to get back into the daily run of things. I realise that I rather like the life I have organised and the arrangements I have made to sustain it. I enjoy being back in the driving seat.

Maybe other people are completely different. Maybe my children have simply inherited my preferences genetically. But I suspect that, if we're very mindful of what actually happens to us when we don't get enough holiday, when we are away from home and when we return, many of us will notice important things about our need for work, rest and play.






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