Soon, summer holidays are here.
Like every year, I am fascinated by how much one can long for the holidays. It’s like we’re anticipating such a long stretch of free time, where all and nothing shall happen. Time to spend with family and friends, time to travel, time to enjoy nature, time to read and write. Time never seems so abundant as when holidays are approaching.
I am also fascinated about the fact that we all seem to work so much harder just before the holidays. It’s like we’re making up for the lost time to come. We just have to finish everything before we leave for those few weeks of carefree nothingness.
I don’t know about you, but I am not a person who has the privilege of taking eight weeks of holiday – like the kid’s summer break. This year, I have three weeks in a stretch. I know – that is a lot for many people – but it’s not that much time when you think about everything you want to cram into that short period of time. And it is certainly not that much time, that you would have to work like a madwoman before shutting the office door.
Time is tricky, though. The fact that time goes faster with every year you grow older is true for me. Three weeks as a kid was far more time than three weeks feel like, as an adult.
I read something interesting about that a while back. It was in a book by Swedish professor Micael Dahlén. His theory is that time does not actually go faster (ok, I knew that), but that our lives kind of get fuzzier with time.
And by that he means that we’re just repeating ourselves and that makes the days blurr into one another, not possible to tell apart.
Because nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
Two weeks in the country side seems like a very long period of time before you’re there. But two weeks seem like a couple of days when you leave to go back into town.
If nothing spectacular happened – like the boat sank, or a travelling circus came by, or you learned something new like diving or spelunking… yeah – not probable, but anyway – time’s up faster than you can say the word “holiday”.
Micael Dahlén argues, that making your days different, choosing to do things you don’t normally do, will make time go slower.
In fact, I’ve experienced that periods of learning are periods I remember well, periods that meet the criteria of not being ordinary days, blending together.
But Micael Dahlén takes the whole thing one step furhter.
He suggests we don’t just learn something new, or make things happen – he suggests we turn those things around. Do things upside down. Things that cannot fit into the puzzle of life, because they’re too big, to weird or simply crazy 🙂
So, you would maybe rent a country cottage, but put up a tent in the garden to sleep in, instead of using the beds inside.
I like that. I think with age, starting a family, leading an organised life, I’ve forgotten the exhilaration of being a little bit crazy. Making unexpected choices.
I believe that’s one of the reasons I’ve never felt so intensely alive as when I’ve moved abroad on a notion of simply having to experience life. I’ve felt a kind of happiness soar through me on occasions abroad, that are rare in my very organised every day life today. Of course, love, kids and sometimes success at work, carry happiness. But if I want to mulitply the number of times I get too feel that soaring happiness, I think I have to make some changes. Take some chances. Go for “crazy” and make the days count.
Summer plans, anyone?