I used to have a fairly regimented holiday season, and then things changed.
Taking the advice of a former coworker, when things changed that I couldn’t control I changed what I could control.
As my mother keeps telling people “around the holidays Sarah leaves”.
As in claw around the holidays throw my stuff in a suitcase and hit the road, or sky, whatever fits.
In fact, I happen to be typing this while sitting in the back of an RV which sounds far more romantic than it actually is. Being a nomad, even temporally, isn’t for wimps.
Why do I hit the road? Because left to my own devices the holidays are filled with memories of traditions that lasted for decades. I get out of my long time comfort zone of traditions by not acknowledging any, if I can help it.
Where do I go? Well that depends, it helps that my family has spread out in the last few years. It’s not nearly as expensive and much more relaxed.
If I can get a reasonably priced ticket and a place to crash I’m gone.
This new tradition of non-tradition helps in some ways but other aspects are more difficult.
There’s always lack of sleep to contend with but at the same time it allows me a better chance to think about other things rather than what’s still lodged in my brain. For example, it’s hard to get lost in grief when you’re trying to catch your next flight located across the terminal that’s scheduled to leave in less than an hour.
I don’t travel as much as I used to and truth be told I find it to be increasingly stressful but I do make these “pilgrimages” every year I’m able to.
I still get criticism from people for it but I don’t care.
My sanity must come first when I feel depleted or else I just spin within myself and it just gets ugly.
I don’t really leave. I retreat and recharge by changing my surroundings. I get out of my own head and in some cases out of my own way.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take a break of some kind, before, after, or even during, the holidays. It’s overwhelming and overstimulating for a lot of people, self-included, naturally. However, it’s much more common to criticize those who acknowledge that they need a break. Someday it’ll be the other way around, as it should be.