Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy holiday

It’s summertime now (as you see, I live in the northern hemisphere), so everybody is on the move, at least in Europe, or at least in the Netherlands. And those who haven’t yet gone will go during the weeks to come. There is a name for this mass migration: holiday. In my country, hardly anybody stays at home during the summer, and if you belong to the 20% that stays at home you have to explain why. You are too old or you are ill, or you don’t have the money for it. Or you prefer to travel in a quieter season (but then, you do go, albeit in another time of the year). Or you have to take care of someone. Anyway, you must have a reason not to go and not a reason for going.
But why do we go? Actually, what we do not say is that we go because everybody goes, for we are one of the herd, like cows. No, we go, we say, because it is good for us to smell another atmosphere. Or because we want to take a break from our boring job. Or we go in order to see other worlds or worlds that are a bit different; of course not too different for then we can get ourselves too easily into unpleasant situations or it can even be dangerous. An adventure is nice but not too much of it. And because the Netherlands is a small country, most of my compatriots have at least some adventure, for most Dutch spend their holidays abroad.
Back home from a tour, not too adventurous but a little bit, or after a few weeks spent in a holiday home, in a hotel, or on a camping site, far away from the daily worries, it is too be expected that we’ll feel relaxed. Fresh for a new start with enough energy for bridging the time till our next holiday, which can be already as soon as two or three months later for some. Alas, reality is different. For many people holiday is the basis of a depression. After a few weeks away from home, people often have problems to find back their normal routines, the so-called post-holiday syndrome. It would be normal if it would last only a few days, for haven’t we left a situation of happiness behind us and exchanged it for a state of unhappiness? But things are not as simple as that. For some the post-holiday depression can last for weeks, forgetting the happy things they also experienced before they went away (and there were a lot of them). Moreover, the depression is pure. It’s is not because of a looking back at the happy time they had on holiday, remembering the new things they have discovered, or how they had been taken up by local people. It’s not a depression caused by a paradise lost they remember. No, they are depressed just because they are depressed, which in the worst cases goes together with physical complaints. And some people that, when still on holiday, had taken the decision to change their lives just don’t do it when back home. They have forgotten their idealistic plans, they do not have the courage for it, or they are absorbed again by the daily routine. Oh no, this is not entirely true: some people decide to divorce. After each summer the number of divorces increases.
In view of this, one wonders why so many people go on holiday, year after year. Why they plan a depression, by way of speaking, for they can know that it will come, from experience. It is as if they see only one solution for ending it: taking another holiday. And so the cycle goes on.

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