Adjusting To Normal Life
For most of this year I’ve taken a weeks holiday every month in the peace and tranquility of the Lake District or the East Coast, normally Filey. I’ve stayed in pristine, high quality, cheap, out of season, apartments or caravans and it’s been wonderful. Some of those weeks have been on my own and some with one or other of the kids or with Debbie. I’ve managed to take so much holiday because my company allows me to buy extra and because I only work a 4 day week, but the underlying reason is because I need these breaks for health reasons.
I’ve learnt something important on the breaks though, I’ve learned that I need very little to be brimming with happiness, to the point that I feel about to fly. I need someone to chat to for a few minutes every day, but I don’t need constant company. I need my pain levels to be low enough to allow me to move around. Most important of all though I need to be able to be able to walk the amazing hills, cliffs and beaches, I need to be able to soak up the crashing waves, the crystal clean air, and the views in order to be fully alive. But I also need plenty of rest, so I also need something to read and ideally something to listen to if I’m on my own while walking or cycling. I love to have a destination while walking so I need some friendly cafes and ideally people to meet along the way for a friendly “morning” and the occasional chat.
If I have these things and comfort and shelter then the less of everything else the better. Holiday homes provide that lack of everything else, by design they provide only the minimum stuff needed for a fairly comfortable life. Lack of stuff means everything is tidy and there’s nothing fix, nothing to clean, nothing to loose, nothing to worry about, no problems finding space to put things away, everything matches, no choices to make, except which way to walk and what to read.
When I go on these holidays it’s my preference not to drive, this provides another radical simplification, have you ever thought about how many decisions driving introduces. Contrast that with the sublime simplicity of only having to remember to step onto a train at 5:30 and step off 15 minutes later.
I eat exceptionally well when I’m on holiday too. I take almost nothing with me and buy only what I’m going to eat that week. Most of it is fresh so everything is right there in the fridge. So making decisions about what to east involves little more than opening the fridge door and making sure that nothings left when I leave.
When I get back home it’s always a bitter sweet experience, I’m back with my wonderful family, but I’m also returning to all the complexities to real life. All those little complexities add up, they chip away at my time and willpower, both essential ingredients to keeping me motivated on the bad days, they keep me sitting down which keeps me hurting. When Debbie and I decided on this years holiday experiment I expected to get bored after all these weeks away in sleepy seaside towns and mountains, but it’s not turned out that way.
It seems that the simple life was designed with me in mind! I need to invest my creativity in finding more of it in the rest of my life.
The photo is of one of those wonderful cliff top walks, on the path from Filey to Scarborough, one of the worlds perfect places.