This may not be the most widely accepted opinion but I don’t actually find these end-of-year holidays (the December ones specifically) relaxing at all. Everyone outwardly moans about coming home in January and starting school and work, but I actually love it. I feel calmer at home. There is order. Quiet. Routine. I feel healthier and more peaceful, inside and out. Is that a weird thing to admit?
That doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate and enjoy our wonderful holiday spent with family and friends. I did, it was loads of fun. There were lots of laughs, boardgames, beach sessions, sunset G&Ts, river cruises. Catching up with old friends from Joburg and the Eastern Cape. A full house with lots of memories created by our kids, who are basically what I think these holidays are about. It was lekker for us adults too and I am very privileged. But also tired.
You’re out of your own home, so you miss your pillows and your kitchen knife and also clean clothes. And if you are driving 1000s of kilometres to get to your destination, you may have a surfboard go through your rear windscreen and then spend 10 days driving around with plastic taped over it, praying that it doesn’t rain. You may also have your trailer break (twice) and then on the way home have to try find a welder that’s open in Swellendam and then cross fingers extra hard for the final 200km hoping that his fix-it-up job doesn’t come undone and that your trailer doesn’t scatter metal parts, boards and your dirty laundry all over the N2, causing a massive accident.
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of family and friends around you the whole holiday, you’ll also find yourself constantly planning menus, fighting for fresh rolls at the tiny coastal supermarket, cooking meals, making snacks and wishing you had packed another packet of biscuits for the beach. There is also this forced joviality this time of year, isn’t there? Like: it’s the festive season so everyone must put on a silly paper hat and talk to each other for excessive amounts of time and HAVE FUN (because sitting in your room alone reading a book or writing on your computer is apparently not everybody’s idea of fun;). I guess I just don’t like being told what to do. Maybe that’s the crux of it.
So apologies if I sound like the holiday grinch, because getting out of Cape Town was actually fabulous: we had perfect weather and the Eastern Cape is my favourite place, as are its people. But I think it’s important for us order-loving people to admit that actually we like non-holidays just as much as holidays. And that’s okay.
Anyway, since we returned a few days ago, I’ve been having a delightful time being home and tidying up. We had various guests renting our house out while we were away, which always has the great side effect of making you spring clean and declutter. I’ve been going through my cupboard and giving clothes away. Tidying our medicine cabinet. Organising my toiletries. Reordering the groceries and combining the two half-full bags of lentils into one. THIS IS TRUE FUN PEOPLE.
I’ve been exploring our garden and spotting some random sunflowers that sprung up – what! How cool. Everything seems to be greener and growing, and the sky is a very specific shade of blue, and it’s wonderful. Cape Town comes into its own this time of year (when the wind’s not blowing) and remains drop-dead gorgeous weather-wise until at least the end of April. It’s my favourite time of year.
So 2020 is here. It’s set to be full of big changes I believe, for lots of people I’ve spoken to. The new decade seems to have given us all the opportunity to be really considered about the direction our lives are taking, and that’s very cool. There’s only this one life, as yourself, so you may as well write the story you want to read.
Happiness, adventure and creativity to you all this year! May 2020 give you what you need.