reflections on loss and regret at the end of a holiday

The end of a holiday evokes feelings of loss. (pic credit: Streetek)

Coming to the end of my holiday and, like any ending, it brings up feelings of loss, wistfulness; of wishing, perhaps, that I’d appreciated my time more: lived it more, felt it more, maybe. Perhaps I could have absorbed the beautiful countryside more enthusiastically, visited the sights more engagingly, and appreciated the reassuring sway and swagger of the boat more wholeheartedly.

Because this time won’t come again – and I’m not sure when I will have precious, unclaimed space to write creatively as much and as long as I like. My diary back home dictates a life without as much space to create. I’m busy copywriting to make a living: occupying the central lane of the motorway, frustrated at not having a stronger engine to overtake and zoom, and making do with the middle. On holiday I can happily coast at 5mph and have time to breathe and feel and think and have gaps in my workaday armour (which gradually falls away as the holiday proceeds) to allow new, unexpected, exciting thoughts and ideas to enter. When life is too busy, there just isn’t room for the spontaneous to enter, even if spontaneity, for me, means scribbling down a few lines of a poem, or scratching an outline for a future novel – or taking photos of flora, fauna and fowl that appeal to me on a heart level.

Apparently I’m not the only one to have sad thoughts as a holiday draws to a close. The Holiday Happiness Curve indicates that people feel low when the end of their holiday is near – it is fraught for 10% of the time, but they enjoy it for 70% of the time. Mood dips towards the end, but then there is a final burst of enjoyment on the last day.

Much like life: we take a lot of it for granted at the beginning, perhaps frittering away time, safe in the knowledge that there’s the rest of the week to go. Perhaps the dip in mood represents the onset of middle age and the acknowledgement that time won’t last together; admitting that we’re not immortal. Then, on the last day, or in the last decade of life, a throwing caution to the wind and enjoying every moment that’s left.

That’s what I fully intend to do on my last day: squeeze every moment out of it, and be in denial about the busyness of my diary for one more night.

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