Sunday, 29 July 2018

Days off and mountain top moments

Anyone else need a day off?

For a lot of people Sunday is just another day in the busy week. Nothing to distinguish it from the other six. Work, family responsibilities, chores, shopping and everything else carry on as usual.

When I was a child I had confusing messages about “Sundays”. On the one hand Granny  insisted it was “a day of rest”. This meant going to church or Sunday School and doing things like inviting her to tea. We tried to oblige but it was tricky with both my parents being nurses – Sundays really were just another work day for them most weeks.  So Granny’s rules had to relax a bit.

We had a family friend who also shared this day-of-rest philosophy. He ruled that his children were never to do homework on that day and his wife had to find a way of getting out of Sunday shifts at the department store where she worked part-time. But, to me at that time, this was another confusing one as said friend was a vicar. Surely Sundays were his busiest days?

I’m not sure how Granny and the vicar would have viewed today’s almost impossible to switch off society. Shops rarely seem to close and the online world is 24/7 365 days a year. Many more people are self-employed and prone to never taking  a real day off. Smart phones and social media make it difficult to turn off work or connections too. There is a temptation to just check in because it’s so easy. Children today might well think every day is a “working day”.

So what’s the point in giving yourself a few hours or a day to do something different on a regular basis, Sunday or any other day?  Putting aside all the work or usual stuff and making a point of spending more time with family, friends, a hobby or finding space to just be on your own is important.

For me, when I’m able to do this, I’m reminded about what is important. And I can get back to it all feeling a bit more enthused or relaxed or inspired. I love it when my Sundays can be  the day for a meal all together, a walk in the woods, or finding a shady spot in the garden with a book.  

Last week we visited our middle son who has moved to Yorkshire, Bronte country,  to work and live. He took us to some of the places where he takes groups of children and young adults on their outdoor challenges and adventures.
Whilst we were sitting on rocks at the top of what I’d call a mountain I was struck by the utter silence around us. No distant traffic or road sounds, no planes, no noise of other people. Even the sheep and birds were momentarily silent. It was just us, the wind and real silence. Granny would have smiled her approval. Utter heaven where the stillness seeps through you in the most wonderful way. I loved my mountain top moment. It was a perfect day off.

Today I don’t have a rock or the luxury of complete silence. But, after I’ve switched off my laptop and put all works in progress on pause then our family lunch and, later, that shady spot in the garden with a book will get my full attention.

Enjoy your day and may you always find mountain top moments.


(photos mine)


Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Thank you Hilary and yes hooray for 'complete' breaks... (says me writing my blog for next week on a Sunday morning while the church bells ring.) Those switch off moments are magically refreshing... always envy people who 'have' to walk their dogs!

Hilary Hawkes said...

Oh yes, walking the dog - used to love doing that, Dianne. For a long time it felt very strange walking without our little westie after she died.

Andrew Preston said...

I was a kid in Scotland in the '60's. Sunday was very definitely a special day.

Sunday School in the morning, kilts, the full regalia for my brother and I. In the afternoon, no scruffing around or doing anything that could be construed as enjoyable play. Afternoons were for walks with parents, or later, drives in the car.

I did feel quite fortunate that the family were members of the Church of Scotland, rather than the Free Church of Scotland, ( aka the 'Wee Free' ) a somewhat more puritan version of churchgoing. A cross, I think , between the late Rev Ian Paisley at full bellow, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Oddly, now, though I may be outside repairing my car ... ( don't buy older German cars, they're ***p ) on a Sunday afternoon, like today....., in my mind it's still a special day.
Very specifically, not just another work day. Though, in the afternoon, when I put on my walking boots, and head for the nearby old railway line, and woods, it's no longer a Sunday. Rather, getting in touch with the natural world again. What day it is drifts away.

catdownunder said...

I grew up largely in "the bush" (rural Downunder) and Sunday was the day when people went to church. Going to church was as much as standing around and having a long chat with your neighbours as the church part - perhaps much more so. People would do a round trip of a hundred kilometres or more just for that.

Penny Dolan said...

Sundays, imo, begin with high hopes, drift into a cluster of things that must be sorted out for the week ahead, and end with a hey-ho & collapse on sofa. But they were certainly important and clear-cut break from official work and a time to catch up with the people and/or communities that mattered to your life. (We often do our family Skype sessions on Sundays.)

Encouraging post, Hilary, and makes me want to get outside, although the "away from it all for an hour" trick must be to leave home before the demands of the day creep in and start muttering!

Hilary Hawkes said...

Andrew, I remember my sister and I having "Sunday clothes" too!
Catdownunder, a hundred km + sounds like real dedication.
Penny, yes Sunday is the most likely day for skyping family for us too.

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