Wednesday, August 6, 2008

For the first August fortnight

The month of August is the designated month of vacations, during which everyone considers it their obligation to go through the process generally implied by the expression ‘I am going on vacations’.

This means, more or less, that for the average Greek (and most possibly internationally all Citizens) to have the feeling that finally he/she can and is allowed to rest, he/she must:

1. have gathered a satisfactory amount of cash (usually around 40% of his/her annual income) aside of the standard expenses such as bills, taxes, installments, etc.
2. have organized the moving and stay in specific vacation sites
3. have ensured the participation of friends in the particular expedition
4. have renewed / acquired the necessary equipment, clothing, body, appearance so that he/she will be able to feel they can appear in public.
5. have ensured stay/ maintenance of the house and any pets.

In the case that one has a summer house, along with the above requirements, one will have to clean house, do general maintenance and oversee any repairs that need to be done before the house is ‘livable’ and before one can justify to oneself that they can sit back and rest. Keeping in mind that the average duration of leave is between a week and 15 days, the pure days of rest are much fewer and the fatigue accumulating before them is augmented and quite demanding.

Consequently, what we see is that the process of vacationing (which implies that one takes leave from work) is many times much more tiring than daily routine.

So, what is it that makes them so attractive?

Primarily it is the sensation that what we do is not work (i.e. obligatory work we haven’t chosen). Also, it is the change of scenery and the potential of access to places and experiences that are not typical where we live.

But far stronger than all that, is the power we believe we get on a social level:

The capacity to answer to your social circle’s question “Where will you go on vacations?” with some answer in the lines of “This year, we’ll go…” instead of the infinitely shameful “This year we’ll stay here/ we’ll go to the village/ the usual place” is worth enough to the insecure person so that he/she will go through the entire procedure which may cost him/her much more than just fatigue (especially in cases such as getting vacation loans one cannot later pay for), just because he/she will feel that he/she will not be rejected by the members of his/her so-called social circle.

We cannot, therefore, accept that this whole process aims to the rest and replenishing of strength as the purpose theoretically is.

And what would be real vacations?

Real vacations would have to entail what the word means: A break from the several procedures and things which cause us fatigue WITHOUT OUR FURTHER BURDENING OR THE BURDENING OF OUR FUTURE.

And how can that happen?

Primarily, we must not burden ourselves during the vacation time with extra or similar pressures as the ones we daily face (e.g. if we daily have the concern that we must coordinate other colleagues in the office or other people, or if we must obey to the orders of higher ranking people, cluster and fight for the conquering of a position/ privilege/ proviso/ etc, we can’t allow for them to transform into matching worries and strife/ attempts during vacations).

Also, we must not burden ourselves with added stresses or try to take away stresses in a manner that we know will trouble us after the end of the vacations.

At all costs, our vacations must be saturated with enthusiasm but also quiet and the activities during our vacations must be the ones we truly like and not the ones our peers and social circle think are necessary to take place during vacations (you can very easily find out and see which activities these are if you wonder what you do during work ‘to waste time’ and what is that which its thought alone rests you, and when you have done it you feel full of energy even if the body is tired).

Remember: The biggest thing from which we must take vacations is the pressure of others, of friends, of social ‘musts’ and of the stereotypes of what must be done during vacations instead of what we want to be done during vacations.

Before we discuss it in the next editorial, think:

1. who truly benefits from the process of vacationing?
2. Who is the one who truly rests and who is the one who accumulates more burdens along with the existing ones of the past years?
3. In the end, what would be the perfect vacations for everyone?

We will discuss all that, but if you give us your answers we will mention more direct examples.

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