Saturday, January 01, 2011

I'd Like More Time To Wallow, Please

Are you like me?

Do you only start properly enjoying a holiday when it nears its end?

I find this happens every time.

And it's not like I'm not enjoying the start of the holiday; it's just that it takes about 7 days for me to catch up on sleep, recover from work fatigue and stress and finally get on top of all those home jobs that have been bugging me for weeks and weeks... once that is all done I'm finally in the holiday zen state and can actually actively enjoy the time off from work.

But, of course, by then the return to work date is rearing it's ugly head out of my toilet bowl like a escaped alligator that has swum up the sewer pipe (hey, it can happen; I've read about it on the internet).

It happens every time; every holiday.

It's like I need a pre-holiday before the actual holiday. I need some down-time before I have the energy to embrace the quality up-time.

Why do we, as a nation, not embrace this concept?

Oh yeah. Money. Or the lack of. And politics. The lack of the sensible kind.

Is it just this country? 'Cos I've heard that, in reality, the quality of life and the work / home life ratio is pretty dire in the UK compared to other countries. We have the balance all wrong.

This has been brought home to me by the news that one of my oldest friends is moving out to Dubai in March with his wife and son as he's been offered a job out there. One of his reasons for going is that he and his wife both work (like me and Karen), both slog their guts out (like me and Karen) and barely cover their financial bases each month (unlike me and Karen who often fail to meet them). What is the point of such a lifestyle? With this new job in Dubai - which I don't think in monetary terms represents a huge increase in wages - my friend will have a much better lifestyle; more home life, more quality time, the money will go further and I daresay the work stresses will be less (though different).

I don't blame him for going or his reasons although it is a significant shock to me that one of the pillars of my life is going to be moving out of the country - I mean, this is a 25 year friendship we're talking about here.

More and more I can see the attraction of fledging the battered nest of the UK and going somewhere where I can spend less time at work, more time at home and not have people look at me like I'm mad for daring to even dream of such of thing.

I want more time to wallow. More time to enjoy my time away from work instead of having a mini-collapse every holiday as my body fights to recover and recuperate quickly enough so it is ready to be thrown into the mixer yet again once the holiday is over.

Best parts of this holiday? Sitting watching TV with my family around me or just relaxing doing nothing while the kids played, daydreaming, vaguing out... not having to rush around and do a list of jobs or prep the next lot of chores.

That's what a holiday should be about. Not trying to squeeze in all the stuff you didn't get to do in the previous 3 months because earning a crust got in the way and sucked your energy reserves completely dry.

I want more time to just be and enjoy. To smell the coffee so to speak.

So who do I have to write to to achieve this goal?

Can anybody recommend a kindly immigration department...? 'Cos I'm guessing there's no one in the UK who'll actually be able to help.



Share

40 comments:

Being Me said...

Who do you have to write to? Mr Maker. Don't tell me you haven't watched it, it's from your country!

How about doing some visualising - proper, honest-injin, no-jokes positive thought - and see where it gets you. I hand on heart believe that it is our thinking that traps us. Remember, thought precedes matter. So what choose you?

Heather said...

Oh Steve, I wish I knew the answer for you. You are right though, there HAS to be a better balance than that. Here's hoping you find it in 2011.

Steve said...

Being Me: I'm feeling a burning desire to build an escape-mobile out of old egg boxes, PVA glue and google-eyes... it sounds mad but it just might work! ;-)

Heather: thank you... the search starts right here!

Being Me said...

Steve, take a look in your crafty cupboard! You never know....

Gorilla Bananas said...

Well, the grass always looks greener from the other side, but if you're determined to leave, you should consider migrating to Mongolia. Its wide empty spaces are ideal for people who like leisure. The emptier a place is, the less you have to do. It's the secret of the void.

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, we did just that. Gave up our harried UK life for rural France. And where are we 6 years later? Back in the UK because in the end it was just 'same merde, different shaped bread' but it made us realise that life in the UK isn't half bad really. What we did do was move to the West Country where property is cheaper and life moves at a kinder pace but it has none of the hassle of expat life. I've never been happier. We discovered that the life we wanted was here all the time, we just had to look a little further afield. I lived in the Middle East for 4 years, in Bahrain. It's not without it's own stresses as I'm sure your friend will find out too.

Steve said...

Being Me: I like the idea of having a crafty cupboard... I think I might spend an inordinate amount of time there being crafty...!

Gorilla Bananas: I'm sure you're right but I'm not sure I could cope with the smell of yak poo. Mind you, it's probably more honest shit than I have to contend with in the UK.

Wylye Girl: I'm sure you're right. Maybe emmigrating isn't the answer but finding an easier way of life here at home. The wife and I have often spoke of mid-Wales but somewhere coastal also has its attractions.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Steve, that could have been me writing!

I'd also like to see an extra stage between youth and middle age!

My hopes are in the basket of an idea I have to revolutionise University education and tackle a great deal of social ills into the bargain - wish me luck!

Re Dubai, I think it would be a horrendous place for a woman to live and with so many strictures to have to be careful of (not that I would ever misbehave on a public beach). Plus the whole edifice is built on a South Sea bubble of debt and due to come crashing down any moment anyway.

Let's all make THIS COUNTRY better and more desirable I say - let's stay and fight for it! We'll fight them on the streets, we'll fight them in the Houses of Parliament etc

Steve said...

Laura: my pitchfork has been oiled and sharpened. I'm ready when you are. Let's storm the barricades! Let's email our MPs! Let's sell our story to Heat magazine and appear on Big Brother! Let's leave no clod unturned! ;-)

Janete Cabral said...

Happy New Year Steve!

I know exactly what you mean. Here is to balance and happiness.

Janete

Steve said...

Janete: I'll drink to that - Happy New Year!

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Come to the Fens in Lincolnshire - dead cheap and it's flat so you get less tired.

Old Cheeser said...

I totally agree with what you say here Steve - once off work and on hols it takes me a fair old while to get properly relaxed. For instance, I've only just got back into the pattern of having a relatively uninterrupted night's sleep again, instead of waking up around 4am and thinking about "work" issues, wide awake and unable to drop off again...grrr...

It reminds me of the "back to school" syndrome, know what I mean? When you reach the day before you're due "back" you find yourself wishing you'd made more of the hols, appreciated the break more, all wistful, child-like and rather futile feelings to have really.

Anyway as for your immigration plans, well, it's a hard one isn't it? The grass is always greener somewhere else...I say stick it out in the UK a bit longer. I got the impression Leamington Spa isn't a particularly stressful place to live anyway?

Steve said...

Trish: OK. I'm sold.

OC: there are worse places than Leamington, I agree, but I suspect it's not so much the location as the lifestyle you get locked into. Breaking out of that and picking up a brand new one that ticks everybody's boxes is the difficult thing...

Suburbia said...

I know exactly what you mean. Perhaps if we were in jobs we actually liked things may feel different?

Suzanne said...

If you need any help with your crafty cupboard call me ;)

Steve said...

Suburbia: you might be right. Having a job I actually like feels like an impossibility but I'm aware that some people do actually achieve it... so maybe there is hope?

Suzanne: do you specialize in craftiness...?

libby said...

As one who is stuck in an area/job/way of life who has huge regrets about not changing things when we first married nearly 30 years ago I would urge you to move....and I had this very conversation with my sister this morning...being on a hamster wheel with no freedom...wishing our lives had been different in some respects....we aim to move when we retire hopefully but wish we had done it or changed things when we had small children....

Suzanne said...

You betcha

rb said...

I had been feeling a bit swamped out and was rather looking forward to life going back to normal. But reading what you have written here makes me realise how selfish that thought was, and just how lucky I am. Because I do have balance and that is why I find these enforced do-nothing times so wearing.
I think you will find things financially less difficult though when Tom starts school.
Sigh. Wish things were easier for you.
Happy New Year anyway.

Steve said...

Libby: getting the timing right is always a major difficulty - but maybe there is never a right time?

Suzanne: ;-)

rb: that's certainly what we're hoping... another couple of years and Tom being at school should alleviate the strain somewhat... though it may just create a new financial strain, of course...

Fran said...

Dubai is well hot. The kids would be fractious.

Steve said...

Fran: took me a second to realize that your first sentence wasn't an attempt at street lingo - "she's well hot, she is". No. You actually meant it was well hot. You're right. It'll certainly be a change from freezing temperatures, rain all year round and grey skies... 'cos they tend to make me fractious. ;-)

Sarah of 'Catching the Magic' said...

Good luck in finding answers to get more of that 'zen' space in 2011. As much as I'd like to return to the UK to be with family, I know my own little family would suffer. Hubbie works in I.T. and the hours would be longer with horrible commutes and less family time.

Steve said...

Sarah: geography always plays a big part in our lifestyle... and effects us in ways we don't always directly perceive.

Val said...

This is pretty much why I moved out of London which I used to love and latterly hated, and came to rural Wales. The pace of life here is very different (well, it is in mid-Wales where I am, anyway). The mentality here is different from all the parts of England I've ever experienced. The push and shove mentality doesn't exist there. The 'no time to think' stuff doesn't either. On the other hand, the weather here is not on a par with Dubai...

But no, it's not just you, but I do think it's an English thing, though there's bound to be some of it in other countries.

That aside... I have a wish that you and your family have a happy and healthy new year.

the fly in the web said...

When we ran holiday houses in France we had mostly people from the U.K. -why did I first type that as YU.K? - but also from Belgium and Holland.
They all worked and had small kids and without exception they spent the first of the two weeks just collapsing by the pool...unwinding from the stress of non - holiday life at home.

It might improve as the kids get older....but perhaps a change that allows less outgoings would give you more time for yourselves.

Beware emigration. Wives either cope wonderfully and the husband sulks because he doesn't or go to pieces because their mum isn't within the range of a day's drive and the husband sulks because she is not coping.

You don't strike me as sulky...so emigration is not for you.

The Sagittarian said...

If you don't mind earthquakes turning up like disliked relatives you're welcome to come here? The hutches have been swept out, the lights are on and the glasses are ready...

Steve said...

Val: although we've not been for a couple of years Karen and I have spent a lot of time in mid Wales and even got married there so we no the area well and love it. I think the only thing holding us up is finding suitable jobs for us both.

The fly in the web: but I could learn to sulk...? I'm sure there must be an Open University course somewhere...!

Amanda: you had me at glasses...

Keith said...

You already know who to write too... Us !!!

Sage advice from Being Me.

Sitting and daydreaming whilst your kids play around you is pretty high up there on that list, if you ask me. You are a lucky man.

Steve said...

Keith: hope you did actually mean us and not the US...!

rummuser said...

I can identify with your angst as far friends opting for over seas careers. I have many for the same reason. I however am on permanent holiday, so I leave my wallowing to your imagination!

Steve said...

rummuser: permanent holiday... now that's a dream and a half!

Posh Totty said...

Happy New Year Xx

femminismo said...

What's wrong with the US? Well, oh yeah, we're falling apart. I think the advice from the person of moving out in the cheaper property country might be good. The Mister and I are thinking of moving somewhere warmer and drier. Yes, take charge of your life early on. Hope things look up, but Dubai? Not for me. Happy new year and thanks for checking in so often. I appreciate your comments.

Selina Kingston said...

I'm with you brother ! If you find out, let me know will you !!

marketingtomilk said...

It's like the last piece of chocolate. The rest of the bar has been pretty mediocre, but that last piece - it's like tastebud nirvana...

M2M

Steve said...

Posh Totty: thank you - and to you too!

Femminismo: not sure I could cope with somewhere like Dubai full time either but I'm more of a green fields and tree man anyway... Happy New Year to you and yours.

Selina: you'll be the first person I send a postcard to...!

Marketingtomilk: now ain't that a universal truth.

Löst Jimmy said...

I only enjoy the holiday before it starts, the anticipation better than the event as it were.
Talking of which I am in my annual enforced in-laws trip.
Wishing you all the very best for 2011

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: I know what you mean; I am a great fan of anticipation myself. Have a very happy, very prosperous 2011.