Holidays

I’m on holiday at the moment. Mostly. Well, I’m abroad for a couple of weeks, anyway. But what even is a holiday?

When most people use the word “holiday”, they are using it to describe something with a very specific and narrow definition: they mean (a) a limited period of time where you (b) travel to somewhere different than where you live, and (c) cease to do the thing you do for a living.

That’s fine. I just find this definition incredibly limiting. It implies that, if you want to get the benefits of a holiday, and you can’t travel, and you can’t stop doing what you do to make a living, that you’re out of luck. Sorry, fella, no holiday for you.

Well, I’m not buying that. A holiday is really just a temporary change – a deviation from the norm. Whatever you consider the normal state of things, a holiday is when some or all of it is different for a bit.

And when you look at it like that, all of a sudden there’s a whole bunch of things you could do literally today that give you whatever you think a fortnight in Tenerife will give you – without forking out a bunch of cash, without having to visit an airport, and without having to spend any time with tourists.

Spending a few hours buried in the world of a great novel can be a holiday. Ditto a few episodes of some of the amazing TV series of the last decade or two.

Uninstalling Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, and avoiding the news for a few days can be a holiday.

Going for a walk in a part of your town you’ve never visited before can be a holiday.

Our brains love contrast. Not just that, it’s the only way we learn. And when life gets too rote and too routine and too autopilot – when it’s the same old shit week in, week out – there is far too little contrast, and a part of us switches off. A holiday – of any kind – switches it back on, wakes us back up, gets us into the game again.

But there is no need whatsoever to stick to the mainstream definition of what a holiday is. Define it for yourself.

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