Monday, 22 August 2016

Paying it Forward

It's nearly time to go home.

After three weeks of sand, surfing, cliff walks and beach barbeques, it's back to reality on Friday.

It'll be a flurry of washing, ironing, buying new school shoes, dental check ups, hair cuts, and all the other minutiae of getting three children back to school in a presentable state after weeks of being feral.

As I've been mentally packing away our holiday in a little memory box labelled 'Cornwall 2016', I've been thinking about what holidays are for.

In the drinking days I was pretty clear on this point: holidays are a reward.

After months of being good - working hard, bringing up children, doing all the endless chores, here are a few weeks of the year which are pay back time. Time to let your hair down, go wild, time to indulge - 'me time'.

And all of that is important. But I took it to extremes. Because, as ever, 'rewarding myself' meant never applying the brakes.

The minute I, or anyone else, even thought about criticizing my behaviour, I'd reply But I'm on holiday!

This meant that by the time I got home I'd have gained a stone in weight, I'd be held together by toxins and mentally and physically exhausted. In need of a good holiday, in fact.

The following few weeks would then be all about payback. I'd go on another fad diet (only raw food, or no carbs, or nothing after 5pm).

I'd try (yet again) to keep a lid on the drinking (not drinking during the week, or only drinking beer, or not drinking at home).

I'd vow to be a better person.

Then, after a few months of trying, and failing, to do all of the above, I'd need another good holiday to REWARD MYSELF.

Repeat, ad infinitum.

I see holidays - like everything else - differently now.

Now I see that it's actually about paying it forward.

This last year has taught me that we really have no idea what's around the next corner - particularly as we get older, so having reserves in the bank is crucial.

After three weeks by the sea I've caught up on sleep, fresh air and exercise.

Three weeks of carrying surf boards up and down the hill every day from our cottage to the beach has made me feel fitter than I've been for ages.

Three weeks of spending pretty much every minute with the three children means I feel like I've got to know them all, in this current phase of their lives, fairly inside out.

Three weeks with the husband might not have completely rekindled the fires of young love, but we have at least warmed the embers.

So I feel like I'm all set up.

Set up to weather the endless battles over homework, the squabbling over household chores, and the inevitable next big challenge that life will throw at me.

And these weeks of being immersed in nature - huge skies, crashing waves, towering rock faces - have made me feel ready to appreciate the energy and buzz (and reliable wifi) of the city.

Instead of going home dreading the next few months, and ticking off the days until I can go away again, I'm going home thinking BRING IT ON.

I'm ready.

Love SM x


  1. Beautiful post SM! So pleased you had a great holiday and very excited for all that is in store for you with your book. X

  2. Morning SM, what a lovely picture you paint...a truly positive post of the benefits of being in the moment, clear headed and engaged in your life, the opposite of what drink does, which is remove you....disengage and obliterate...I'll raise a cup of green tea to that...

  3. Yes, once you get some sobriety under your belt, the clarity on which you can look back and see the crazy way you were leading your life is pretty eye opening. Your vacation sounds lovely, I am so glad you were able to kick alcohol to the curb when you did, such precious times with your family and memories you will all cherish forever.

  4. What a wonderful and inspirational post! I love this attitude! I'm only Day 2 but will keep this in my toolkit!

  5. i did first ever non drinking holiday this month in sunny portugal. it was fantastic. no regrets at all unlike normal pattern of events!

  6. "Reliable wifi"! Brilliant - quite possibly the only downside of my home county. Safe travels home - good luck with the a30 traffic! ; )

  7. Sounds wonderful SM, so glad you had a lovely time xx

  8. Sounds like a wonderful, idyllic holiday SM. Glad you had a great time and are now ready to tackle the world! A x