Like pretty much everybody, I love going on holiday. So far, so normal, I hope.
I also really love deciding where to go on holiday – planning, preparing, randomly googling the amazing place I eventually decided on after my family ordered me to stop looking and just bloomin’ well pick somewhere. Maybe a little less common, but I can`t be the only person who spends about as long choosing a holiday as they do on the actual holiday… can I? Anyone?
And for those of you who are still with me, what about packing a car to within an inch of its life before setting off? Is there anything more satisfying than squeezing in that last flip-flop, ignoring the sceptical faces waiting on the drive and slamming the boot door down with a victorious clunk?
For many years of family camping holidays, I viewed cramming every last nook and cranny in the boot with everything from sleeping bags to suncream with relish, like some sort of giant Rubik`s challenge. I feel slightly disappointed now we`ve swapped tents for apartments and villas – 5 small suitcases seem somewhat forlorn in the big boot we bought with airbeds and gas canisters in mind.
But if I`m not careful, I start treating my life like a car boot. I have treated it that way, for so long that it`s a lesson I`m need to relearn over and over again, that my ability to multi-task everything, squeeze as much as I can into every activity, might not always be a good thing.
When I start to feel guilty that I`m just eating my breakfast, not researching a talk or catching up on emails or planning an event at the same time, I`m cramming too much in.
When failing to combine a couple of hours gardening with listening to a writer`s conference feels like a poor use of time, I need to have a rethink.
When I get irritated because my family won`t pander to the ridiculously detailed schedule that I`ve invented to make sure an empty Saturday is spent productively, it`s time to
It`s time to remind myself, yet again, that my value does not lie in my productiveness. That the only person putting this pressure on me, is myself. No-one else cares how much I get done, or how fast. Honestly, the pleasure I felt when my husband recently called me a machine after seeing my supermarket bag-packing skills can`t be a good thing.
So, I`m spending some time this summer wrenching myself away from tasks and to-dos once more. Sternly ignoring the clench in my stomach at the decision to enjoy a bit of space, spread out and let a few things wait a while. Saying no a little more often. Denying the instinct to hunt for more things to squish into the boot until it can`t take any more.
Finding that I`m still me, still loved, still blessed, still just as capable.
Only with a little more room to move, to breathe, to be.