The wanderer returns. After a year of planning and dreaming, my annual summer holiday has flown by and I am left with a tan, a few tenacious mosquito bites and an enormous pile of laundry. And that is fine. I will do the ironing whilst I catch up with Coronation Street and Jam and Jerusalem. The English summer is still stumbling its way through August and I have a couple of weeks before I get thrown back in to the whirlwind world of school. And so all is well.
And I have plenty to think about. I decided a few years ago that every time I go on holiday, I come back a little bit different. I used to find these Holiday Resolutions somewhat draining. Whilst I was away I would decide to change my life on my return. You know the kind of thing. Who needs television? When we get back I will not reach for the remote as soon as the children go to bed but I will sit with a edifying book and read until I retire, tired and with my mind expanded. Or I convince myself that I will overhaul what I cook and that in my evening reading sessions I will select tasty and yet unusual menus from my plethora of underused cook books which will in turn delight my family and thrill them with different dishes every night.
Of course it never came to anything. Old habits die very hard in my house and the Autumn tv schedules always look too appealing to ignore. And cooking new stuff? Well no one eats it anyway so I soon slip back into cooking the same five meals that I have always made. And as I approach my 44th year, I know that about myself. I have seen the futility of that kind of resolution and when they cross my mind I push them firmly to the back where they belong knowing that they are doomed to fail.
And yet as I grow older they have been replaced by something else – an altogether more realistic type of change. It struck me that as I lay on my lounger trying to tan my front ( which cannot be done whilst reading unless you have incredibly well developed arm muscles) that I should use that time to think. Not about little day to day changes to make me feel better about my lifestyle and try and prolong that holiday feeling, but about the big stuff. What I want? Where I am going? Who I am going to take there with me? These are the things that never get any headspace in the real world because life is too busy and noisy and by the time things have quietened down enough to hear myself think, I have lost the desire or ability to do so.
And so I have returned filled with plans and dreams – some achievable, some possibly not but all of them worthy of surviving the first few days of life at home. And so, as autumn approaches and my tan fades I need to hold on to these thoughts and use them to inspire me to move forward in my chosen direction so that by the time I get to next year’s holiday I can see my progress and start again.