Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why Holidays Are So Important

When I look back over the winding journey I've made so far, I can see how each experience has shaped who I am, and prepared me for the next experience.

I really believe everything happens for a reason - I know it's become a cliche to say so...I also believe that everything happens in the perfect time and place that it's meant to. Sometimes it takes the benefit of hindsight to see it. Sometimes the good break comes, just when you think you're about to break.

Last September we had a holiday booked for Tonga, but my husband was injured, and ended up having surgery just days before we were due to fly out.

Sad and disappointed, we called off our trip. The airline could not give us a refund, but did give us credit, to be used within 12 months from the time of the original booking. That gave us until the end of July this year.

But fast forward to this year, and money was tighter than ever before. How on earth could we afford a holiday? But we didn't want to waste our $2000 worth of airline credit either.

We decided to take a family holiday to the Gold Coast, with our children and my husband's older children, since we managed to get hold of cheap fares. We found accommodation, and booked a hire car. The money from my cleaning contract would have to be our spending money.

I cannot tell you how many times I was tempted to call it off. I thought about how the accommodation and car hire would be better spent paying off that burdensome credit card debt. I thought about how those 10 days could be better spent painting our house and fixing it, ready to sell.

The only thing that stopped me, was that we'd already told my step-children, and they were so looking forward to it, since we've never had a family holiday together. I just didn't have the heart to disappoint them.

Now that I'm back home from holidays, I can unequivocally say that it was the best, and the most necessary holiday ever.

Before we left I was exhausted in every possible way - physically, mentally, emotionally, and stressed beyond belief.

It's amazing how things can be put into perspective, once you're removed from the situation.

I got a few chances to go walking by myself and discovered all manner of interesting little shops, and in my wanderings, discovered that there was a kinesiologist right across the road from our apartment, so I booked myself in.

It was another right choice.

She tested my hormone levels and found that all of my "stress" hormones were thoroughly depleted (This piece of information did not surprise me in the slightest). She also found a number of foods that my body is not handling very well at the moment, and she advised me to cut them out for a while. One of them was wheat, the other was dairy products, including cheese. I love cheese!! This was such a blow! I would eat cheese with everything, if I could...

But funnily enough, I've hardly missed it at all.

The kinesiologist also worked through some emotional issues, and did some balancing. She said that I had become disconnected from myself, and did some mind-body-spirit balancing.

She also said that I MUST find a little bit of time each day to relax, even just for 5 minutes, as my body was running on empty.

I thought secretly to myself: "Ha! Wishful thinking!!"

But afterwards I went away and thought it over, and realised that actually, there were a number of changes I could make.

For instance, when I get home from work, I like to go on facebook. It's my "unwinding" time, but actually, even though I looked forward to it, it also wasn't good for me. I often spent a lot longer than I'd planned, checking out links and videos that people had posted, by which time both my sons were jumping on the bed and demanding attention, and then dinner was late, and everyone was cranky. Including me.

So, I bid an indefinite farewell to Facebook. Yes, I've been tempted to sneak a peek at times, but I've stopped because my newfound sense of self, and sense of wanting to hold on to my peace, is too strong and means too much to me.

Another change I've made is in the mornings, I normally have to get up really early (5.15am early!) to drop my husband to work. It's only 5 minutes away, but it's been too bitterly cold for him to walk. In the beginning I hated it, and resented having to do it, but then I found myself with a whole one-and-a-half hours of blissful peace and quiet all to myself, before the boys wake up.

I would do my stretches, and then make myself a cup of tea and watch the news, before getting lunches ready and waking up the boys.

But thinking over it more, I realised that even though I love to keep up with current affairs, it's also not very good for me either. Most of the news is negative, so I made another bold move. No more watching the news. Instead, I would play some relaxing music, and read a book while drinking my cuppa.

Yesterday morning was my first opportunity to put it into practice.....and it worked!!! I felt so relaxed, that my eldest son's usual morning antagonism could not ruffle my feathers. I weathered it with sense of humour intact. Normally, I am so harrassed and stressed that by the time I get everyone out the door in time for school, work and childcare, I feel like I've already worked a full day.

That visit to the kinesiologist was such a profound experience for me. It's hard to describe to others, but I feel like it was meant to be, and in fact, that the holiday might well turn out to be a life-changing experience. And not a moment too soon, either...My life was in need of changing.

I kind of feel like I discovered myself again, and it was like meeting a long-lost friend and finding that they were just as you remembered them.

Even though I loved our holiday and the beautiful warm weather, and didn't really want to come home, there was another part of me that was excited about coming back to my "real life" and all it's challenges, and putting into place all my new ideas and new perspectives.

I'm excited to be excited about my life again!!

This year has been hard for me. Maybe even the hardest year ever, so far. And I'm afraid that I have not weathered it with the grace and dignity that I would have liked.

My faith and my positive spirit have wavered many times.

I'm ashamed to say that some nights, exhausted, fretting over our financial situation, and unable to get my sons to stop squabbling and go to sleep, I have screamed at God with helpless rage, begging for just a tiny break, a little rest. Something! Anything! Afterwards feeling guilty and worse than before, yet He loved me just as ever.

And He gave me the break. More than I asked for, more than I deserved.

But it was perfectly what I needed.

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