Don’t you think that the act of looking forward to something is better than the act itself? Okay, so I admit it, I’m feeling a bit doom & gloom today. With this being the last day of the school summer holidays, my mind has been hijacked by thoughts of the fickle nature of Time.
There I was, all of two months ago, stretching out my arms in bed as I woke up on that ecstatic first morning of freedom. Bliss! All of July and August free! Time to do everything under the sun, and more. I mean, TWO MONTHS! Wow, that’s eight weeks, 56 days … (you can work out how many hours, if you like). Not a care in the world – just feathery summer breezes, bird-filled mornings and cricket-filled evenings. Just me, my daughter, my dog … all to ourselves, without the constrictions of work, deadlines and stress.
So that’s the dream. The imagining of it all. The looking forward to those eight long weeks ahead. That’s the best part. The part before the real thing actually happens. Because when the dream finally becomes flesh, then what happens?
Actually, quite a lot, in my case. But definitely not my summer dream.
Problems are what happen. Problems, major repair works, and smells. Oh, yes. Smells. Plumbing emergencies. So, in come the plumbers, the water authorities, the gas board, the workmen, all of them frowning, folding their arms, pulling their faces, shaking their heads, delighting in explaining how impossible it will be to solve all the challenges that face them, thereby preventing my daughter, dog and me from living happily ever after.
The pavement in front of my house is duly dug up to try and locate the enemy. Street sewage smells seep out, contaminating the fragrant summer air. I escape whenever I can, taking my dog on extra-long walks and doing way more shopping trips than are necessary. My daughter hides in the safe isolation of her room and puts her headphones on. Our dog barks at all the house-intruders until he goes hoarse and gives up, whereupon he pads back to his doggy basket in defeat. Most definitely not the summer of our dreams.
Fast-forward three weeks, and the workmen and plumbers have finally gone. So at least I can look forward to the remaining five weeks, right?
Next item on the holiday-sabotaging schedule is the sudden, totally unexpected resignation of our school principal. Health reasons given. Stress. Well, guess what? I’m getting pretty bloody stressed now, having to pore over resumes from all the applications that come rolling in, having to reply to emails, create shortlists, interview candidates on Zoom, and then at last – offer the job to our chosen candidate. Said chosen candidate gratefully accepts said job offer and regretfully declines three days later. Back to the drawing board. More CV-scouring, more shortlisting, more interviews, and finally, another candidate is secured. Yippee! All’s well that ends well!
But the trouble is, I’m not well now. I’ve developed a racking cough that leaves me wheezing and breathless and longing to whiz off in a plane to Andalucia for some recuperative sea air and Sangria. But the trouble is, I can’t whiz off anywhere now, because today is the last day of the holidays, remember?
Oh how I long to re-live that very first morning of two months ago! That morning when I stretched out my arms out and listened to the cheery birdsong from my wide-open bedroom window, and smiled to myself as I thought, Ah, the summer holidays are here at last – the most wonderful feeling in the world!
Wrong yet again! It’s just looking forward to them that’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Like everything else in life, anticipation wins the day. Who in their right mind would ever choose the real thing over the dream?