Extend the Holiday An Extra Day

Photo by Kosta Karakashyan

For the first time, I was the one that made the trip happen. 

Blame it on the Pisces in me, but I have a tendency to delay making important decisions until the other party is annoyed enough to do it for me. It manifests at odd intervals, but when it does happen, I abdicate like nobody’s business.

After a series of talks with A., we’d decided that we need to spend more quality time together. We talked about it a few times, and I knew that meant I had to do my share and book the holiday this time around. 

The quaint hotel I chose near the city looked cozy but luxurious on social media. I interrogated A. when would be a good time to book it. Seconds later, I completed the reservation in my name. We were going on holiday. Not only that, I had given myself permission to experience the holiday.

Taking a real vacation together meant challenging some of the more destructive behavior patterns that had built in my head over time. I had let my quest for productivity erode hobbies, breaks, and time spent with family until I felt like any time not spent on achieving my work goals was time well wasted.

This time around, the holiday presented me with a chance to challenge myself to break an ever-evolving phone addiction and to invite my mind to stay present with A. I embraced this the way I know best – by adding a productive twist to it. I brought along my vintage film camera, an heirloom from my dad who grew up in Plovdiv.

A. and I took a trip to the eco-trail named after the town we were staying in. The trail in the forest winds up through eight wooden bridges that look over the Beli Iskar river. Once we started our trip, I set a goal to stay present with each other and lay to rest the buzzing tasks in my mind. 

The beautiful winding hike slowed me down and inspired me to take the time to compose some thoughtful photos. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task for me to suspend my urge to be productive, so the camera acted like a gateway hobby. It gave me a chance to savor the experience, while still creating. 

One of the best and the worst thing about being an artist is that you are constantly seeking and finding inspiration. It can strike at any moment, which makes some of us greedy to always be searching, always be optimizing our everyday life in order to “make it” as a creative person. 

Halfway through our hike, we started to get lost and had to cross over some rocks in the river. I felt a familiar tinge of apprehension building up. I sensed the urge to cause a row about how inconvenient the whole walk in the forest was, and that I wanted to go back, but I pushed it down.

Why push it down? My intuition made me feel like I was being unfair, and it was my old habit speaking up. It demanded attention, angry that I’d given space for this new personality that takes breaks and goes for walks in the forest with his boyfriend to grow. 

I knew once I’d power through those feelings, I would be one step closer to doing this again, enjoying something that I’d conditioned myself to avoid out of not being able to provide it for myself regularly. I knew I wanted to take more of these breaks. I only had to teach my mind to do so.

I’m grateful to A. for teaching me to take better care of myself and exercising patience in the moments when my mind is acting extra difficult.

At the end, I even asked A. to extend the holiday to stay an extra day.

Sticky Notes Lesson #6: Living an interesting life by Cole Schafer

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