Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holiday Recovery

A number of people have mentioned to me that they have to recover from the holidays. It struck me as odd. The appropriate Wikipedia entry for this meaning of holiday is: A period of one or more days taken off work by an employee for leisure. Then if we look at leisure we find: Freedom provided by the cessation of activities.

What’s wrong with this picture? I’m thinking freedom provided by not working is not something we ought to have to recover from. So how does this happen?

I know that we may overdo things, trying to pack too many activities into the time. It’s not that you can have too much fun. But if we are constantly on the run, trying to fit everything in, we lose one of the great pleasures of holiday time: relaxing. We make the holiday into work by trying to to see everyone, get the cards out, get the perfect gifts delivered, be certain that everyone around us is having a good time, and so on.

What if we just tried to relax and have fun? It might look different than the usual holiday. Perhaps you would only send cards to the important people, give gifts that reflect what you feel instead of trying to figure out what others want (it takes a lot less time to express your feelings than to attempt to intuit others’ needs), see only those people you really want to see and do only those things you really want to do. I don’t mean in a selfish way. Of course you do things to please others at times. Emphasis on “at times.” In other words, not all the time.

And when you think about what you want to do, ask yourself if you really want to, or if there’s a hidden “should” in there. For example, I should go to the new exhibit at the museum because… This is quite different from, I’m going to the new exhibit because I’m really interested in seeing the Chinese terracotta soldiers.

So I’m picturing a holiday that’s actually a holiday for you, not for everyone else. Maybe next time?

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