Friday, April 6, 2012

So, not a Holiday

"It's Green Day–!"
We seem to be confused about the meaning of the word "Holiday".
Let's chat, shall we?

Ever hear people talk about their favorite holiday? It's sad. Most don't even qualify; Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, April Fool's, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day.  Folks, these are NOT holidays. They are days of observance. They are ALL relevant and important but if banks, schools and businesses are open–it's not a holiday.

I know, Mother's Day is sacred, Valentine's Day is for lovers, blah, blah, blah. I get it.
"That nice man in the big white van gave me lots of candy!"

Halloween is fun, but no matter how cool my costume is, if it's on a weekday, I still have to be to work by 8 o'clock. So, it's not a holiday. On St. Patrick's day I can wear green, eat green smell green and pee green but I still do NOT have the day off (although I know for some northern American cities like Boston, Chicago and New York– this one does come close!).

My laptop's dictionary sums it up nicely; "A holiday is a day of celebration and remembrance in when no work is done". I won't debate that many don't work on some of these days by choice but on most, you are required to show up to work. Even if your job has you working on Easter or Mother's day, they will be expecting you to show up (again, whether or not you do is your call).
Well said, Frankie–now back to work.

I really feel like the American mandate to avoid work (a sentiment I don't share) drives our love of 'a day off.' Why is that? Do so many of us hate our jobs that we look for every excuse in the book to get away from it?

I think it goes deeper than that.

I believe it is because Americans don't cherish their time off. Look at the weekends of people you know, or even your own. Are they spent reflecting, sleeping, doing fun things and relaxing? Mostly not. We squeeze in food shopping, laundry, kid's practices and recitals, trips to the dry cleaners and super markets and visiting with relatives we frantically scurry to get face time with.

Or even worse, we tackle chores and home improvement projects we've been putting off. The reason we put them off is because we didn't want to do them in the first place – and probably for good reason.  We identify the need, sometimes down to our core, that there is value of "me" time. Mental (NOT physical) downtime is essential and can be hugely valuable for our sanity, state of mental well-being and not to mention good for our relationships with friends, family spouses and co-workers.

Personally, I get shopping and laundry done throughout the week and I try desperately to keep the weekend chore-agenda to a minimum on the weekends. I wouldn't give up my me-time for anything–barring emergencies or the needs of those close to me–and I KNOW it makes me a better, happier person. After all, life is for the living, right?
So let's stop calling days of observance "holidays" and call them what they really are, mental time-outs. 

To be honest, I rather like the term "Me-days".

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