Holidays, Come and…GONE!
Having just had a set of holidays myself, I think everyone can relate to the title. In general, most of us work all year long to get a set of holidays, aside from statuatory holidays, if you even get those nowadays. Afterall, some businesses are open every day of the year in an effort to gain our dollar when it might be otherwise lost to the competition. And, of course, certain workplaces remain open and have always remained open no matter what, such as hospitals, police stations, EMT, fire stations, etc. Regardless of your job, however, there is no doubt that holidays are coveted and when you do finally get to cash in on them, they are usually well-earned and highly cherished. And, there seems to be one universal truth….they go by way too quickly!! I mean, I’ve never heard anyone on holidays say that time is passing too slowly or that they can’t wait to go back to work. I guess there might be the odd person out there who has felt that way, but odd they would be! Then again, if they’re loving their work and living their passion, then good on them. For the rest of us, though, I dare say that holidays are where it’s at.
The best part of holidays? In my opinion, it is the anticipation of the impending vacation time and those few weeks or days beforehand. You know, the whole notion of the ‘countdown to’ or ‘the big lead-up’, however you choose to look at it. That’s the best part because it hasn’t happened yet, and you still have something to look forward to. Busily planning, or NOT planning, what you are going to do/how you are going to spend your time. Go away, stay home, or maybe a little bit of both? The beauty is that the choice is yours, though money or lack thereof, may dictate which you will do. Nonetheless, having the gift of time, a temporary sense of freedom, if you will, is all-too enticing. And, you cannot deny the high that comes from awaiting your time-off. If it’s a holiday spent away from home, then packing, cleaning, laundry, etc. may somewhat tarnish that high, as the days close in and you madly dash around in preparation, as I have many times. If it’s a holiday spent at home, the high might be lessened if you decide to sit down ahead of time and make out a list of things that you can finally tackle during your days off. While I strongly discourage list-making, something too reminiscent of work itself, I realize that for some, holidays are the only time to get certain things done, and it can be a real feeling of accomplishment to cross items off of “The List”. The fact of the matter is that no one can tell you how to spend your holiday time, and we all know that sometimes plans change at the last minute-an illness, a death, an unexpected deadline, a cancelled trip-you just never know. But, if all goes well and none of the aforementioned events happen (God-willing), your countdown/lead-up slowly, but surely makes its way, until there is no more time left to count. Ever notice, by the way, how those last few days are those in which you swear that time has actually managed to stand still, or worse yet, go backward somehow?!
Of course, when the time finally comes, and your holidays are official, it is usually a feeling of pure elation, combined with plain exhaustion, on the eve of your first holiday day. That evening is worth relishing, though, as you realize that your full vacation awaits you with open arms. YOU are at the precipice–the brink of potentially: sleeping in, staying up late, hanging around in comfy clothes, eating whenever you feel like it, napping, beaching it, indulging in a drink or two….whatever it is you fancy the most! Ah yes, it’s a wondrous time as you slip into bed that eve dreaming about the days ahead, promising yourself that you will remember what this night feels like-that you will truly relish every minute of what lies ahead. Even, as the next day begins, the feeling usually continues and you try to take in each luxurious moment. It’s Day number one, life is still good. Your well-planned vacation away or unplanned time at home, or combination thereof, unfolds first minute-by-minute, then hour-by-hour, quickly turning into day-by day. Within this process, the hope is that tiredness will finally dissipate, stress will melt away and relaxation will kick in, WITHOUT sickness, though for some reason one seems to follow the other. (A Cold-FX regime ahead of time is almost mandatory!) And, who knows? By the time your vacation is winding down, you may even begin to feel human again. May. At some point along the way, you likely find yourself re-evaluating: your relaxation progress, your checklist, your tan, the unforgiving scale, the number of days left. Before you know it, you are trying desperately to remember ‘the feeling ‘ on the eve of it all, as time slips through your seemingly oiled fingers. No matter what you do or how much you try to slow things down, you soon find yourself asking, ‘Can it really be over? Where did the time go?’. And then….then, it’s the eve of back-to-work’ness’. Laundry. Lunches. Early rising. BLECH!!!!! But, you can’t avoid it–going back is a reality. Unless, of course, you can magically cash in on a lotto win, and just in case, you make sure to buy an extra ticket just to seal the deal. ‘I’ve gotta be due for a win by now’, you assure yourself. Indeed, there’s something about that little taste of freedom that leaves us craving more….and why wouldn’t it? It’s what keeps many of us going until life hands us the next little snippet of free time. However, should you not be the next lucky lotto winner? Chances are, you reluctantly slink into bed on that final night (at ‘a decent’ time), set the detested alarm, and await a sleepless night, as you toss and turn thinking about the following day. Maybe your internal dialogue goes something like this…’I wish I could have back the eve of holiday beginning’ness’. Oh, please? I promise I’ll be really good’, as if someone or some magical power can turn it all back around. Nice try, but no cigar.
The first day back is always the worst, right? The routine of it all begins again and you quickly find yourself wondering whether or not you have even left your work premises. Everyone seems the same, the work hasn’t changed, the clock goes back to keeping ungodly slow passings, bathroom breaks are scheduled and/or rushed, and a packed lunch awaits you, if you even still desire what you packed the night before, as you begrudgingly threw whatever you could find in the fridge into your lunch bag. Or, maybe to congratulate yourself for getting the gumption to go back, you decide to treat yourself to lunch out? Either way, that night you get home, likely tired, but still able to reminisce about your time-off. Day Two of work is often more tiring, as reality sets in and your sleep habits catch up with you, as does the lack thereof from the night before. Some colleagues might still ask how things went, if they didn’t see you yesterday, and for a brief moment you are brought back to the blissful times, as you relay some of your goings-on. On Day Three, you must accept that your holiday time has, in fact, come and gone. Some of the memories already seem distant and you swear that you must have slept through the whole darn thing or even possibly have made it up because, try as you might, you can’t remember where all the time went, what you all did, or how freedom smelled or tasted. Yup….going, going and GONE! Just like that. Only 300 and some days until the next time, depending on how many days/weeks worth of holidays you have managed to work up to or however it is that your vacation days get decided. Whichever way it is, you and I both know that it isn’t soon enough for the next set to come! The good news is that a new countdown or lead-up begins, and you have the newly found anticipation of, which really is the best part of holidays. And then, there’s always the Lotto win that you are more than due for, right?! I know that I have my lucky ticket. Do you?