Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Into The Groove



When I was a kid, I used to get so excited about going away on an upcoming holiday or a school camp that I couldn’t sleep. The anticipation of the journey would fill my brain so much that I couldn’t think of anything else. What would it be like? What would we do? Who would we meet? How much fun would we have? The excitement was so intense it almost made me feel ill. I’m not sure when that feeling of excitement gave way to anxiety. Many of the symptoms are the same. Unable to sleep. Nagging feeling in my stomach that almost makes me feel ill. The only real material change I guess is in the thoughts that bombard my brain while lying restlessly awake at 4 in the morning. Thoughts of fun and adventure seem to have given way to those of how much there is to do before we leave. I’m sure that having my own business exacerbates that. Have to finish a statement of work and quote for a new customer. Need to respond to an email from another. Have the accounts been sorted for the end of financial year? Is my major contract, which expires while we’re away, going to be renewed? What if it isn’t and I come back to no current work having spent all of our money on a trip overseas? Did I find out about the visa situation for all the countries we’re visiting? How difficult is it going to be to find our Airbnb apartment in Beijing? Things that don’t bother me at all during the day seem to haunt me like monsters of the night at 4am. I suspect that this anxiety is all symptomatic of being overstressed. Having too many things on the go. Overload of responsibilities. It’s not just the pending trip that has brought this on though. Pre-trip anxiety has just melded into my current regular state of being. Lucky then I suppose that taking a long holiday is usually the best cure for the stresses of home life. 

But things didn’t start so well on the stress reduction front. I’d discovered a day before leaving that the Landcruiser had a leak and mould had taken hold over various parts of the car interior. Fuck!!! Thanks to my old friend Shane, I was able to get the interior nicely detailed but how to dry it out. And how then to keep it dry from the Melbourne winter, being as though I had nowhere undercover to keep it until we got back and I could sort out the leak. It’s fair to say that my state of mind had me making various poor decisions at this time, one of which seems to be the decision to take the Landcruiser to the airport and park it in the long term parking lot with the windows slightly open, under a tarp that was held in place by inadequately short lengths of rope. Now I was able to add to my mind the image of coming back home to a barely secured tarp lashing against and scratching the neighbouring cars in the strong wind, rain coming in the windows and a forest of mould having taken over the car interior, meaning I’d need to find an alternative way to get the family home from the airport and then work out how to rescue the car.

But as they say… out of sight and out of mind. Holidays are great for relegating things of seemingly huge importance to the “I’ll deal with that when I get home” compartment of the brain. Things always seem to work out one way or another in the end. Life is really just a sequence of continued events to be dealt with or not dealt with as they occur. We seek out the fun and happy times, but even the more difficult times tend to bring something of worth. We often seem to place too much importance on all of them at the time. As those great philosophers the Indigo Girls once said, “it’s only life after all”.

So now the holiday is here. The adventures have begun. The overnight Air China flight to Beijing. A sleep-deprived whirlwind of a visit to that great city that took in dumplings, Tiananmen Square and some Peking duck before being back on a plane for the long overnight flight to Vienna. And on arriving in Europe with the long haul flight behind us, finally the fog in my mind was truly able to lift. A nice little Airbnb house a short u-bahn ride to the city. New exotic places to explore. Languages to be stumbled over and culture to be perplexed by. Local food to be consumed and beverages to be supped upon. Even leaving my credit card in the ticket machine at the train station and having to cancel it, only one day in to a five week holiday, was no longer able to dampen my spirits. Waking up in the mornings with only decisions of indulgence to be made. Or just rolling over and going back to sleep instead. I’m not sure that I’ve ever needed a holiday more than I do now. And now that it’s started, I’m going to relish it with all of the non-effort I can muster.