An unhealthy love of holiday packing

Like pretty much everybody, I love going on holiday. So far, so normal, I hope.

I also really love deciding where to go on holiday – planning, preparing, randomly googling the amazing place I eventually decided on after my family ordered me to stop looking and just bloomin’ well pick somewhere. Maybe a little less common, but I can’t be the only person who spends about as long choosing a holiday as they do on the actual holiday… can I? Anyone?

And for those of you who are still with me, what about packing a car to within an

lot of luggage in the family car before the long holiday trip

lot of luggage in the family car before the long holiday trip

inch of its life before setting off? Is there anything more satisfying than squeezing in that last flip-flop, ignoring the skeptical faces waiting on the drive and slamming the boot door down with a victorious clunk?

For many years of family camping holidays, I viewed cramming every last nook and cranny in the boot with everything from sleeping bags to suncream with relish, like some sort of giant Rubik’s challenge. I feel slightly disappointed now we’ve swapped tents for apartments and villas – 5 small suitcases seem somewhat forlorn in the big boot we bought with airbeds and gas canisters in mind.

But if I’m not careful, I start treating my life like a car boot. I have treated it that way, for so long that it’s a lesson I need to relearn over and over again, that my ability to multi-task everything, squeeze as much as I can into every activity, might not always be a good thing.

When I start to feel guilty that I’m just eating my breakfast, not researching a talk or catching up on emails or planning an event at the same time, I’m cramming too much in.

When failing to combine a couple of hours gardening with listening to a writer’s conference feels like a poor use of time, I need to have a rethink.

When I get irritated because my family won’t pander to the ridiculously detailed schedule that I’ve invented to make sure an empty Saturday is spent productively, it`s time to STOP!

It’s time to remind myself, yet again, that my value does not lie in my productiveness. That the only person putting this pressure on me is myself. No-one else cares how much I get done, or how fast. Honestly, the pleasure I felt when my husband recently called me a machine after seeing my supermarket bag-packing skills can’t be a good thing.

Retro Car Summer Holiday Vacation Poster

So, I’m spending some time this summer wrenching myself away from tasks and to-dos once more. Sternly ignoring the clench in my stomach at the decision to enjoy a bit of space, spread out and let a few things wait a while. Saying no a little more often. Denying the instinct to hunt for more things to squish into the boot until it can’t take any more.

Finding that I’m still me, still loved, still blessed, still just as capable.

Only with a little more room to move, to breathe, to be.

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