More often than not, the idea of a perfect getaway or vacation is to go somewhere special and fancy, to have a well-planned trip somewhere great.
Semester breaks are considered boring if you don’t travel to another country or state. Weekends are dreary if you don’t have any plans to a mall with friends.
For as long as I can remember, I had this exact same perception of the ideal holiday. My friends would travel here and there, and when they asked me, I’d go “oh, my holiday sucked because I didn’t go anywhere, I only stayed home.” I had to make sure I went to a mall every single weekend, at least and for no particular reason really.
I find it quite funny how tables have turned almost completely now. I’d get excited and breathe a sigh of relief as the weekend or a break draws near. When I’m asked what my plans are, I gladly say “nothing.”
I have come to the realization that the best thing to do in my free time is not to go for a Europe tour or shop till I drop at malls. I mean, these things are great and we need enjoyable things to do with friends and family every now and then, but that doesn’t have to be the case every single time.
Sometimes, what we really need is to spend time alone and catch up with the family in the simplest of terms: tea, coffee, simple meal, SpongeBob and pajamas. In other words, we need to pause in our frantic pursuit of fictional or unattainable happiness and just be happy.
Truly, the beginning of ultimate happiness and contentment is once you start to acknowledge and enjoy the little things in life. Make the best out of what you have – the little, yet significant things right by your side that have long been taken for granted could contain abundant joy and pleasure, like watching the sunset while sipping your cup of coffee, or reading a book, writing or simply putting your random thoughts on paper, if that’s what you prefer. Watch an episode of Suits in your cool dark room. Perhaps go running just before sunrise – plug in your earphones and tune out the rest of the world for a while.
Having a simple me-time could possibly be the best vacation you’ll need, to rejuvenate and energize yourself in this extremely fast-paced and hectic world we’re living in. Sometimes you just need to pamper and catch up with yourself. To breathe and relax. Note that being alone does not mean being lonely. There’s significant difference between the two. Nobody likes feeling lonely, but at times we really do need to spend time alone.
At other times, we need to catch up with our family. They tend to be neglected and the bond slowly weakens as we all go our own ways in pursuit of our personal lives. Thus, while they’re still close at hand and healthy, while you’re still around and active, spend some time with them – even if it means merely sitting with them in the living room and doing nothing. You may have all the excuses in the world, but if you would just genuinely want and try to find some time for them, you’ll find it for sure.
Be your mom’s taste-tester if that’s the least you know how to do in the kitchen. Watch some random shows on Nat Geo Wild with your dad – pretend you’re interested if you’re not, and it’s okay if you doze off a few minutes later. Sit with your grandparents and listen to embarrassing stories of your childhood; have a good laugh with them even if you’ve heard those stories a hundred times before. Ask your younger siblings how school is going; even if they ignore you as they play their online games, ask anyway.
Whatever is your plan to do, or are capable of doing, just do it. 30 minutes or an entire weekend, go for it. A phone call or face-to-face, don’t hesitate. Don’t delay and never forget – for what the future holds, nobody knows.
A key to a life well-lived and free of regrets, apart from achieving one’s personal goals and contributing to society, is to live in the now. It is to look far ahead while firmly standing on the ground, being completely aware of the well-being of oneself and the ones that matter most. It is to live right now and right here.
It is thus rightly said that we sometimes travel the world looking for happiness until we find it in the most unforeseen places, events and things. Also, we travel the world over in search of what we need to become happy and return home to find it.