Holiday and happiness – these two words are very often used together. They’re two things that everybody yearns for, especially with the sun sparkling down on us these past couple of weeks. But why is it that a holiday automatically equates to happiness?
‘Happiness’ is such a loosely used term and its meaning has become so vague. Overplayed in common phrases such as “I’m happy to see you” and “happy birthday”. In America, especially, it is overused as everyone is expected to be ‘happy’ all the time – “have a happy day” is scrawled over everything. It pushes this mentality onto people that they have to be happy all the time. But, is that really possible? In my opinion, to recognise happiness you have to experience unhappiness. Even more, to be human you have to be unhappy sometimes; as life just isn’t perfect.
It is an extremely British mentality to look forward to a family holiday. That week or two, every summer, when you go away with the family and spend quality time together. I remember many summer holidays with the family, when I was younger, and yet as I look back now I naturally only remember the good bits – the happy times. I can bet you a million dollars that there were some arguments and that my siblings annoyed me. Regardless, these holidays are often portrayed and retold as blissful, happy times. But are they actually? Surely, being with your family 24/7 is going to cause some friction…
This brings me back to what happiness is. In my mind, it’s a balance, an equilibrium of many things – work, love, friendships, money, health and everything else in your life have to be balanced, like a seesaw. If you’re too happy in one aspect on your life another aspect will suffer. It doesn’t mean that you have to be ecstatic with everything in your life; if that was the case I don’t think I’d ever be able to ever say I was ‘happy’. The aim is to be content, there’s always going to be things that ripple under the surface, yet the trick is to learn to live with them and embrace them.
So, on the family holiday your brother may always do that annoying voice and your mom may nag you to put sun cream on. But, the pure joy of being on holiday balances these annoyances out. The excitement of being in a new place, the yummy food and the funny things that happen – really do make one feel ‘happy’. By going on holiday, you physically step out of your current life and into another. This could be as extreme as your holiday self – with you holiday mood, holiday clothes etc. It gives you a chance to reinvent yourself, away from the pressures of everyday life.
There is this stereotype that a holiday brings out the ‘happy side’ of people; because it gives you that chance to relax, rewind, wake up at 12pm and generally do nothing. So, is that the cause of happiness or is it just that with hindsight you look back remembering only the ‘happy’ times on holiday?