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     Volume 4 Issue 43 | April 22, 2005 |

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Straight Talk

Taking Time Out


Back home at last, after a short but sweet holiday with the family. My husband and I always joke about the fact that we must be a very odd couple as we love going on holiday but love the feeling of coming back home almost as much if not more! We just put it down to being creatures of habit and routine. But I have come to realise that occasionally, taking some time to depart from our daily routine and everyday activities is not only a rather enjoyable experience but is actually necessary for our spiritual well- being. When we keep doing the same thing day in and day out, life can start to become a drag and our daily activities can take on the mantle of becoming dreadfully mundane. This is where we need to do the obvious and just take a break. I think we all tend to get so involved with our lives that despite spending the majority of time with our partners, children, parents etc., we end up neglecting to spend "quality time" not just with them, but we also forget to take some time out for ourselves. When people fall ill, it is often the case that they are prescribed "a change of scenery" for their recuperation. Similarly, even without the excuse of being under the weather, most of us need a change too.

It really does not matter whether you take a break and head off to your "desher bari" or go on a holiday somewhere slightly more exotic. The main thing is to go somewhere where you can leave behind your everyday worries and get away from the schedules we chain ourselves to. We decided to take a holiday in the true sense of the word. We left behind the multitude of tasks and responsibilities that confront us in our daily existence and spent seven glorious days with no obligations, no rush to be anywhere at any particular time nor any errands that just had to be done. It's funny but the minute you remove yourself from familiar surroundings, you naturally tend to adapt to the new environment you place yourself in. While I sat armed with a book on the beach in Dubai (not normally my kind of thing) watching the kids run around on the beach and despite observing my husband turn an alarming shade of lobster red, I found myself letting the sun, sand and sea take me to a place mentally where it was calm, relaxing and incredibly serene. No school runs, no meals to be prepared, no phone calls to break up the peace, no televisions series that one has to follow nor the hustle and bustle that engulfs us at home. Time really had slowed down and it was amazingly cathartic to allow myself to just soak up the sun and feel the warm breeze caressing me gently. Okay, okay so nothing is completely stress free -- especially when you have kids. I did have to have one eye fixed on them to make sure they didn't go too far or get knocked over by a wave or something equally distressing. Oh! yes, and we had to dissuade them from getting together with some other kids on the beach to collect sea shells and then sell them to the people there to raise money for charity! Noble concept, but was probably doomed to failure.

The term "quality time" is obviously very relative. But I'm sure that you find that you do tend to give more attention to the people you are with when you have no outside distractions. At home, household chores can pile up, the kids can start to make you irritable or work can get you down. However, on holiday people are more receptive to the needs of their companions and just doing things together in itself acts as a sort of bonding process. Even taking the time to read a book you have been meaning to but not had the opportunity, thanks to a busy timetable can be therapeutic. Talking about therapeutic, one afternoon we decided to have lunch at the restaurant on the beach front thinking it would be relaxing and a treat for the kids. However, it was to our great amusement that we actually spent the entire hour watching the kids trying to eat their lunch while waving their arms in the air fighting off insects and flies! Not what we had anticipated but nevertheless made our holiday just that much more amusing and unpredictable. People are by nature creatures of habit and we find comfort and safety in the predictable and routine things in life but every now and then it is worth our while to step outside the box and do something different. It gives us a different perspective on even the most commonplace things and can help bring people a little closer.

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