The summer holidays are just around the corner – the perfect timing to have a closer look at this concept. Did you know that the idea and system of paid holidays in the affluent West only started in the beginning of the previous century? And that it was only extended to the whole working population in the 1930s? Gradually the number of leave days was increased to what we know now. We have come to consider this as a normal and given right, to the point that whenever changes are proposed, (un)announced strikes are organised.
We don’t know any better and for most of us it has become the highlight of the year, the well-deserved rest we all look forward to, the escape from… from what exactly? The rat race, the routine, daily life, … it’s as if we cannot do without holidays, the notion has become simply inconceivable. But the larger part of the world population does not even know this luxury! Gradually and for most of us holidays have become synonymous with travelling, ever further away, taking distance in a real physical sense. This is now slowly turning into the norm, to the joy of the travel industry, who specifically create this kind of need.
The other day I was struck by the following quote: “Stop creating a life that you need a vacation from.” Of course it is wonderful and fascinating to explore other countries and cultures (I would be the last person to deny this) and it certainly contributes to broadening our view on the world and people, but you could wonder whether your motivation to do so cannot be changed.
During our holidays we ‘recharge our batteries’, we come back ‘reborn’, we are ready to go full steam ahead again,… It all suggests that the rest of our year is very exhausting and drains our energy, that we need to fight our way through it, as if our work and daily life are some kind of necessary evil and all we do is count down to the next holiday.
I now wonder whether this has not developed into one big limiting conviction that we all share and assume to be true? What if we could let go of it and take a different approach? That every day can be wonderful and revitalising, that every day is what you make of it and how you look at it. After all, you only have one life and with each day that passes, the rest of it becomes a bit shorter. So why not make every day a small holiday, if only in your mind? The Roman poet Horace already figured it out 2000 years ago: ‘Seize the day!’
On a final note, did you know that the word ‘vacation’ originates from the Latin ‘vacatio’ which means ‘free of duty’? So it all comes down to considering what you do as something you want to do and not as something you have to do. Changing your perspective can work miracles.