I’ve recently come back from a lovely trip to Scotland. Apart from a brief visit to Edinburgh when I was in my early twenties (which I don’t remember much about – other than Edinburgh was very pretty and I drank too much), I don’t class myself as being an aficionado of Scotland at all. Y’know, it’s a bit…far away. It takes nine hours to drive there from where I live. But my husband convinced me it would be a good destination for our Easter family holiday (he actually wanted to go because there was a disc golf competition going on in which he wanted to compete – don’t ask), but I insisted we fly, and once he agreed – I was sold!
Before I go on, I’ll say that Scotland was well worth the trip; Glasgow was a city grand enough to compete with any European city I’ve ever been to, and the Isle of Mull was breathtakingly beautiful. And quiet. With no phone reception. Or internet. Anyway, we had a great time. Well, at least, now that I’m back, I think we did. That’s what I’ve chosen to write about this week – how I’m not terribly good at appreciating the things in the ‘here and now’. Most events that I consider to have made me happy, I’ve needed to reflect upon them for a bit before I could make that decision. So, this post isn’t really a travel blog, as such; it’s more of a blog which aims to discuss why I have this complete inability to stop and smell the roses. Plus, a few pictures of Scotland thrown in for good measure.
Picture a landscape; lush and rolling green hills in the distance, the sound of a calming and babbling brook nearby, standing in a glade about to enter a forest – still and dark and peaceful within. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I see beautiful pictures like these all the time, usually whilst I’m browsing the internet in my run-of-the-mill, humdrum life, after a hard day’s slog at work when everything went wrong. And I stop and think to myself (just like everybody else does, just like you’re supposed to), ‘gosh, I wish I was there right now’. And on occasion, if you play your cards right, sometimes you are there. You’re standing right in amongst that scenery you dreamed about. And do you know what? I simply won’t appreciate it. I won’t appreciate it because my mind is already focusing on ‘the next thing’; the next thing on my itinerary, the next place I have to be, the next train or plane I have to catch, the next ETA deadline.
I hate that about me. That I haven’t got a gene which is happy with what I’ve currently got right there in front of me. I just can’t live in the moment. And I’m like that about everything. If I’m eating a lovely meal at a restaurant, or a dinner I’ve slaved over for hours, I can’t sit down and enjoy that very meal. I’m thinking about the next meal that I have to plan. I barely even taste the food because of it. ‘Hmm, but what will I have for breakfast…?’ When I was the mother of new babies; yes, they were cute and adorable and smelt wonderful and I loved them to bits, but I was looking forward to the time when they’d grow up a bit so I could get a decent night’s sleep.
Why do I have this inability feel and experience happiness in the moment? Why is it always a reflective happiness? I’m great at looking back at how wonderful things were in the past; how I had it so good, what a great time I had back then. But at that time, I probably wasn’t having a ‘great time’ at all. I was almost certainly worrying about something else. Scotland was a prime example. On the journey there, I was anxious about catching the flight to Glasgow – what if we didn’t make it to the airport on time? Once we’d successfully caught the flight (and had a few nice days in Glasgow), I was stressing over catching the two ferries over to the Isle of Mull (I was actually irritated about the amount of times my husband was climbing out of the car to take pictures of the breath-taking highland mountains, in case we missed our ferry [mind you, he did spend an excessive amount of time taking photos – and we did nearly miss the last ferry]). And when our week’s break was over, I was stressing all the way home about catching the two return ferries and whether we would make the flight back to Bristol or not. Oh, and I was worrying about the cats too.
Partially, I realise this is might just be the affects of anxiety; a condition which I’ve been suffering with fairly recently (but that’s another story – a story I might write about in the future. But I’m waiting for a certain life event to take place first, y’now, to add a bit of colour. Watch this space). But I’ve always had this inability to feel (in the present) – always.
Right now, whilst I’m writing this blog, I’m sort of enjoying writing it because I like writing and spilling my guts to you all. But I’m worrying that there aren’t enough jokes in it, or you’ll be thinking that I’m turning into an incessantly whiny b*tch. And when I’ve finished penning this blog and edited it, I won’t be able to sit back and feel pleased, since the blog-clock will just reset and I’ll be worrying about the next blog I have to write. I’m also worrying about some content writing I need to be getting on with for a company blog this week – I’ll be stressing about where I’ll find the time to crowbar that in too. My mind is always looking forwards; to the next task or scheduled event, and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m sick to the back teeth of overthinking every little goddamn thing. My life is just a series of tasks, and it’s my job to tick them all off the list one by one – tick, tick, tick. There’s no sense of satisfaction, no sense of pride, no pat on the back for a job well done; just a continual and perpetual list of things to do, hurdles to jump over, and stepping stones to traverse. But a holiday should be a break from all that, right?
So, now I’m awaiting my next holiday – another chance to have a break from real life – in August. And this time, I’m determined. I’m determined to enjoy it. Not in the future as an afterthought, not as a reflection in a blog post, but I’m determined to enjoy it THEN AND THERE. I’m going to sit back and enjoy the scenery; the impressive architecture, the different and flavourful food, the laughs and fun we’ll have along the way. I’m highly unlikely to miss the flight, and the cats will be fine (have you seen the intricacies of my pet feeding instruction list?). It’s a holiday, that’s why we go to the trouble of doing these things. We save up and book off the time and get excited. We go to experience something different from the mundane cyclical nature of life; to take a breather from it all. And this time, I’m going to really let myself experience it. Either that, or I won’t. But I’m going to give it a damn good try.
NB: If you want to SEE a little footage of my holiday to Scotland, my talented blogger/vlogger daughter, ‘Ennie How’, has created a cool YouTube video about what we did and saw. It’s pretty funny, and you get to see me haplessly falling into a stream and singing the ‘Rainbow‘ theme tune. So I’d advise you go and watch it, because who wouldn’t want to see that? If you’re interested, please click HERE.