Remember the joy of school holidays, especially finishing just before Christmas with all those beautiful summer weeks stretching out before you? Nothing to do except catch upwith friends, go swimming, read...and then towards the end, you'd say 'I'm bored' and Mum would snap 'For heaven's sake, get up and do something'!
And as a mother, I used to enjoy school holidays when the daily routine could relax, there was no homework for me to nag about, and we could have outings, meet friends, and have sleepovers. And then someone would say, 'I'm bored' and I'd find myself echoing my mother and snapping 'For heaven's sake, get up and do something.'!
And even now, public holidays are such a relief, a break in the round of getting up early, going to work, coming home and going to bed. A sleep-in perhaps, or going out to breakfast or a movie, visiting friends....a change in routine and a chance to refresh the batteries.
So annual leave is something special. A chance to go away, to the country, the beach or overseas, or to undertake a project like renovating the garden, sewing (if anyone does these days), creating a new look at home by moving around the furniture, or changing a colour scheme.
Most of all these days, I like to travel, whether in Australia or overseas. When I get on that plane, I can leave everything behind and just have a time of enjoying myself, not having to be responsible for anything more mind blowing than what I'll have for lunch or dinner, whether I'll have a snooze or a swim.
Some people I meet when travelling like to check their work emails and to keep in touch with the office. I can't imagine doing that and then being able to relax and get the benefit of rest and refreshment. While my staff know they can call in an emergency, they generally don't call and I trust their decision making and will back them up when I return.
With an elderly father, it is important to make sure he is monitored and supported in my absence, and that I can be contacted if necessary. We have discussed what would happen if he died when I was away, and have made arrangements for the undertaker to care for his body until I returned. I suspect that part of me thinks that by making such a contingency plan, I may never need to use it, but it helps me go away with a clear conscience.
So I have just had a wonderful holiday and am pleased to be back, and to be back at work today.