After spending two weeks immersed in hedonism, leisure and adventure, it’s time to get back to reality and face the bitter taste of routine we try so hard to escape. The last day of a holiday is filled with tragic nostalgia: not being able to rewind, to control time and space, to morph our surroundings.
Working hard for so long certainly makes one entitled to have some sort of reward and when it comes to that, I enter an arena of extreme ballin’. I become the working class aristocrat, the temporary nomad, the girl who grew up wanting to be the lovechild of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones and ultimately someone able to afford where, when, how and for how long could I travel around this small yet gigantic world.
Moments are immortalised in photos and memories – island hopping in Malta under the Mediterranean Sun, followed by a memorably romantic holiday in gloriously decadent Budapest, and ending up in the overwhelmingly cool city of Berlin experiencing and absorbing its urban essence and underground scene. But sadly the globetrotting had to come to an end – at least until the next opportunity to explore more nooks and crannies across Europe and beyond rolls around.
So, here I am, already late for work, backpack unpacked, hours of laundry just done, back to the so-called comfort zone we call home. But let’s not sugarcoat things. To be honest, at some point I was dying to come back home and its cosy warmth, its humble luxury (i.e. endless hot showers, privacy, tranquility, rest, proper sleep, a washing machine) since my feet were nearly bleeding in dirty soggy socks ravished by worn out Doc Martens, a nose dripping endlessly thanks to a bad flu in the coldest weather possible… and my period cramps paired with the paranoia that I could be potentially leaving the seats of a tram like a prop from “The Shining” didn’t help either.
Back to reality, routine and rationing pints in the local pub. An ominous sense of duty invades me. Change must happen, I think, just so I can keep on entertaining myself with a life enriched by surprises, evolution and smooth survival. I feel incredibly inspired after my holidays, but it’s a feeling that is simultaneously contradicted by the draining pressure and comedown-like uneasy feeling of panic – a fear of counterproductive conduct allied to an insecurity and lack of self-confidence that blocks me and leaves me stuck and trapped in a maze of unmotivated doubt. I keep telling myself I need an extended holiday, that I need something to perpetually feed my brain and creative core or my potential goes down the drain… I even listen to Kajagoogoo out loud and try to convince myself that I just need to adapt and adjust, just like everybody else does before, after and during holidays. Or work. I suppose I’m on denial until starting my shift this afternoon, praying for my selective memory not to fail. A slight change of setting feels almost like a challenging fresh start.
While my spirit still roams free, wild with wanderlust wishes yearning for passport-stamped wings, I must stop daydreaming and accept that we only appreciate these ephemeral delights because we are aware they won’t last forever – just like any other source of pleasure in life. Same way we enjoy life at its fullest when we are confronted with death. Life goes on and it’s far from perfect but we encapsulate those euphoric bits of happiness in the music box we call our heart.
On a less dramatic note, why don’t I stop whining about being a lazy sloth needing extra holidays and go for a hike in Dublin Mountains or camp somewhere in the remote Atlantic coastal countryside instead? If we can’t be tourists, or at least explorers, in our own city, then there’s reason to worry. Instead of moaning and moping on the way to work, I should embrace my commute and reconnect with this beloved city I call home.
Taking time off is a privilege that reminds us never to take quality time for granted. Embrace your here and now, no matter what.
Photography: Nancy Wilde