Holiday Blues * Other People's Expectations


Holiday Blues

I’ve been on vacation. It never seems to fail, I come back feeling like I need another holiday. Except this time, it should be a much more restful one. I’m far more tired and overwhelmed than I was before I left.

Sometimes, I think I’d rather just stay at home. Keep to my day to day. Find that “just right” schedule that’s going to give me a few extra hours each day to get all the things done that need doing. I might even catch up (not a chance!).

Or maybe a working holiday but that never really seems to work out either. I tend to think I’m going to have all this extra time so I chose a big project (clean the basement, build a deck, paint a room, etc). Then, by the end of the week I’ve got a half completed project and even more mess to clean up. It’s frustrating.

It’s also kind of funny. During the summer, we do a lot of camping. The majority of weekends, the three of us go are out in the great outdoors. We hike, we fish, and we play a lot of games.  We stay up late. We are active and rain or shine we tend to enjoy ourselves.

Usually, I come home feeling pretty refreshed. My mind is overflowing with creativity. I am ready to fight the battle once again.

Other People’s Expectations

So what’s the difference between those weekend getaways and this draining holiday? The length of time obviously but also the expectation I think. During a week or two long vacation, our expectation is that we have far more time to play with. We expect that we can see more, visit with more people, and just do more. Inevitably planning gets involved and every little niche of time is filled with doing something.

Using this particular holiday as an example. We were constantly busy. Each day, we had plans that needed to be enacted.

Looking back though, mostly those plans involved sating other people’s expectations. People other than myself, my husband, and my grandson. Not necessarily things we wouldn’t normally do or things we might not choose to do given the opportunity but compromises nonetheless.


Now, in life, obviously we have to compromise to some degree. We do it every single day but usually the give and take is somewhat up to us. We go to work because they pay us which allows us to pay our bills. We watch that dumb action movie knowing that our spouse is going to sit through a sappy chic flick next time around. We patiently help our children with their homework knowing that the skills they learn are going to help them throughout life. We feel our compromises are valuable and are valued (mostly anyways).

In some small but important way this vacation experience is a different type of compromise. At least for me, it seems to be. I feel stretched out of shape somehow.

The entire trip, I felt like some sort of performing monkey, like I had to fulfill expectations. Too much noise and a constant barrage of someone else’s notions of what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I couldn’t take time to find my center. I couldn’t even find a moment to rest and recharge.

Always under the microscope, I felt like a failure. Even when I tried to stay true to myself, I felt like I was letting everyone else down. I was making others uncomfortable and causing waves. I guess it’s no wonder I felt (and still feel) so very exhausted.