Who are we really? The Holiday

It’s a little known truth that very few of us are certain of who we are.

Yes, we may be a teacher (who daringly dabbles in free-diving), a nurse (with a penchant for fierce rally driving), a (surfing) social worker or a businessman (who bakes on the weekends), but that’s barely scratching the surface of who we really are.

The new year has barely begun, but this question has been hanging out with me all through these holidays. Happily, dreamily, willing me on. With it’s beloved cousin ‘time’ also by my side, I’ve had the luxury of doing and musing on a great many things.

(Among them, clearly viewing too many period dramas, now that I’ve written that!)

So, without sounding too 20th Century, how do we begin to acknowledge or even explain, the multifaceted individuals that we are? And why is it important that we even do this; take the time to explore what makes up us?

The world of workholiday-dreaming

While our jobs may be part of this puzzle, we are commonly caught up in a world of work that inevitably but unfairly define us and leaves little room (and time) for us to be who we truly are, or would hope to be.

In truth, when meeting new people it’s not long before the proverbial question ‘So what do you do?’ enters the conversation.

Yes, it seems harmless enough and surely warranted when beginning to surmise who this stranger before us is. We can immediately make some connection then, place them in a social grouping, maybe even judge what ‘type’ of a person they may (or may not) be. But it is ultimately a flawed question.

The work we choose to do (in most cases at least) says something about us.

‘Occupations shape who we are….. Every occupation weakens or reinforces aspects of our nature’ Book of Life.

The Aged-care worker is a giver; patient and attentive. The artist; imaginative and creative. The farmer; methodical, persistent and determined.who-we-are

But no one job can ever be enough to satisfy all the parts of us and it certainly should not alone define us.

Specialised and finite as our jobs may be, they are often void of opportunities to explore the vast array of talents and interests we possess. We are so much more than the ‘work’ we do, but how easy it is ‘to behave across our whole lives like the people work has required us to be’.

Do we work to live, or live to work?

So it would seem that time off from work; holidays, provide us not only with a ‘break from work’, but with this freeing platform to delve greedily, recklessly and wantonly into our creative talents, our hidden pleasures and allow us the space to be free with our ideas and behaviours (somewhat).

If we are so fortunate as to claim some ‘holiday’ time, we can indulge in our passion to paint, explore that interest in film, fashion up some new culinary concoctions or simply experiment with several ways to potter about the place.

We can dedicate time delving into that new interest, partake in being a present parent and play for the sake of playing.success-on-beach

When else in life, do we have the time and space to do these soul satisfying acts? And when else is there a better time to appreciate and acknowledge who we really are? Or indeed, who we would like to be?

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Give Me A Break!

Sometimes we all need a break. A holiday (if you will) from the everyday.

The chance (if only we could) to just put LIFE on hold, while we relax for a minute, regroup and attempt to regain a sense of who we are without all the noise.

My mind has happily played with this idea of late; images of me stranded in a remote mountainous Buddhist temple spring forth.

So too does the vision of a deserted beach with a sun lounge seductively placed beneath a sighing palm tree, maybe a luscious cocktail complete with tiny umbrella, within arms reach.

Yup, take me there!

It’s a novel idea (not to mention a totally unrealistic one); taking time out from life. Plenty of self-help books out there I’m sure, telling us it’s possible if we simply follow certain steps or establish some routines to allow for a little ‘down time’.alone-time

But Life by it’s very nature is unpredictable, precarious and fickle, so making time for some downtime, doesn’t always come easy for most of us.

The daily ‘struggle’

Some of us face challenges of a personal, family, financial, or work nature everyday and overtime its only natural to feel down right buggered and overwhelmed.

I was in the car this morning during school drop off, on my way to work, screaming toddlers in the back.

My day had started like most other parents I’m sure, at 5 am with demands from little ones to meet their basic human needs; food, drink, toileting, teeth cleaning, dressing, food, finding lost toy, food, food, food!!! All regularly punctuated with bouts of fighting, biting, kicking and crying etc.

You get the picture.

I’m trying to be patient as a parent at this point, placated by the thought of a coffee at some time before 10am.

Anyways, back in the car, racing round and you betcha I’m willing on that vision of the deserted beach. Heck…. lock me in that Buddhist monastery for Pete’s sake!mountain-retreat

Each of us face a myriad of misadventures during the course of any given day, just in our efforts to exist.

Some face far greater challenges than any of us can fathom and this can certainly put our own ‘struggles’ into perspective. You only have to tune into the news or speak with a loved one who’s facing a terminal illness to get the bigger picture.

And this perspective is needed! Yet it doesn’t diminish our desire to break free and take a breather from the everyday and nor should it. In fact quite the reverse.

It’s often then, that we realise wholeheartedly the vital need to properly LIVE life and appreciate its entire spectrum of experiences.

There possibly will never be a perfect time to just take a break from life, but shouldn’t there be moments where we do? And, not feel guilty for it!

What better way to show our value for the life we do have, than by giving ourselves a break from the everyday and permission to do so. This can be the sticking point though.

Give-me-a-break Guilt

That feeling of guilt, sneakily sidles up to us, masked as anger or discontent.

It would be selfish to walk away from the everyday, even just for a brief moment. There is that pile of dishes in the sink to do, groceries to be bought, dinner to be prepared, paperwork to complete before tomorrow, deadlines chasing our tails. ‘This person’s always got their gig together, so why can’t I? What’s wrong with me?’

Nothing of course is wrong, just out of whack!

Whether it’s a solitary walk along the beach on a Monday afternoon, a cheeky ‘sickie’ from work, an early morning bike ride or surf, a quite coffee in your local café or even just a night in on the couch, takeaway in hand, these are moments to saviour.surfing

There’s a bunch of reasons why they don’t happen often (even though they should).I don’t need to tell you that they should be right up there with diet and exercise, in helping to keep us happy, healthy and hopeful.

The simple fact is (I reckon at least) that Buddhist retreats in some remote mountain region are probably never going to happen and even though I live in hope that one day my unromantic husband will shoo me away for a solitary weekend (child-free naturally) to some secluded beach with that sun lounge and condensation dripping cocktail, it’s still just a distant dream.

So instead, I’ve got to stop giving myself the guilts, admit I’m only human and give myself a break, sometimes.

I’m not about to go rogue….. just yet 😉

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