Why going on holiday is stressful (with pics)
Is it really worth it? That is the question I always ask myself as I fret around booking, washing, uploading, planning, packing, delegating and farewelling before I go on holiday. At the time it is hard to believe the stress generated through the sheer effort of getting away could possibly be off-set by the pleasure and relaxation of any break that is to come.
Every time, I find myself perplexed. Why is it such hard work getting us all out of the house? Why does there always seem to be more that I can possibly manage to do?
I found something of an answer to that question about five hours before we were due to leave for our three week break in Barbados when Arch did a massive pooh - one of those kinds that spills out of the nappy and onto the vest.
"Oh no," I thought. "I can't get that washed and dried before we go. I don't want to take a dirty vest with me. I'm just going to have a leave it smelly and festering in the bottom of the laundry basket. Ugh!"
If we hadn't been going on holiday, it would have been no problem at all. I'd simply have put it in the washing machine the next day. It was only because we were going away that it made me feel untidy, unfinished and stressed.
I think that is the nub of the problem, especially for someone of an anal disposition like me. I find it hard to get away because I don't want to leave any unfinished business.
When I fly away into the sun, leaving my day to day life behind, I want to know that everything is in good order - my relationships, my bank account, my house, my work, my blog.
The problem is that life never gets sorted in quite the complete way that I desire. It's a process. It's constantly changing. There's always something new and so there's always something left undone.
However hard I try to deal with every eventuality - and believe me I do - there is always something that crops up at work while I'm away. The lives of my friends move on. My toddler still needs to pooh.
Pre-holiday stress can perhaps be alleviated a little through recognising that life's a process and enjoying that and trusting in it rather than trying to make it more tidy than it can possibly be. The other side of that is that there will always be threads to pick up on return - and thank God for that.
Now, regular readers might remember that before I went away I was stressed because I had written a post about cricket that needed illustrations, but I simply ran out of time before I could work out how to resize my images and had to leave that job undone.
On my return, I learnt how to resize pictures in less than five minutes - so here's a pic of Monty Panesar bowling on day three of the fifth test of England versus the West Indies at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.