LESSONS learnt from a three week holiday back to the 1970s, by Joanne McCarthy.
Lesson 1: A little ignorance is a very good thing. If a couple of the Doomsday scenarios are correct, and the world is hit by a giant asteroid, nuclear wipeout or other bizarre catastrophe that knocks out all telecommunications, leaving billions of people wandering dazed and confused, and looking for food without the aid of Google maps or access to Instagram to file their post-apocalypse "best face" shots, I will be okay. For I've just spent three weeks on holidays at home, in a pre-new millennium state with the mobile phone on silent and buried at the bottom of a drawer. And I have survived. Actually, no, I take that back. I have not only survived but thrived, I am here to tell you. There is "connectedness" without fast speed access to the internet. You get it by going outside and saying hello if you run into someone, and maybe having a chat. There is communication without 24-hour access to family, friends and the rest of the world. It's called dropping in for a cuppa, like we used to do. There is, gulp, life, if you stop paying attention to the latest drama involving 1. any or all of the Kardashians, 2. any or all of the latest reality TV shows because there'll be another one along soon with the same kind of characters, 3. any or all confected Meghan Markle scandals, 4. any or all political blow-ups, particularly during election season, and if you basically tune out of most of what's happening in the world, even if just for a while. Instead choose to do very little, which wasn't exactly a 1970s thing, but was certainly easier to achieve when the height of home entertainment and consumer technological advancement was a Beta video player.
Lesson 2 - Get the most out of doing very little. There are many cheap and easy ways to do nothing while on holidays. I'm something of an expert. First, find an excuse for doing nothing, to ease you out of 2019 thinking that you must lead your "best" life, and settle back in the 1970s where chilling out and resting on velvet cushions while exploring the intricacies of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (conclusion: there weren't any) was all the rage. In early February it was also too hot to do anything but stretch out somewhere comfortable with a fan and a good book, and I now have age as a ready excuse for most things. A six-month-old baby granddaughter is also a fabulous reason to stop everything and relax on the carpet for hours until it's sleep time.
Lesson 3 - Don't make lists when you go on holidays. You know what I'm talking about. A good friend had a list of tasks for her last holidays, that started with cleaning out a pantry and making nutritious meals from the 20 kilograms of dried pulses she had stored in jars, included digging out her entire front yard and planting a Bali-themed oasis, and ended with a whole-of-body medical assessment so she won't die suddenly of some hidden health ticking time bomb.
A good friend had a list of tasks for her holidays, that started with cleaning out a pantry, included digging out her entire front yard and planting out a Bali-themed oasis, and ended with a whole-of-body medical assessment so she won't die suddenly of some hidden health ticking time bomb.
"So your actual holiday from running around like a maniac is going to be 15 minutes on the Sunday night before you go back to work, between freezing all your nutritious soy bean and chick pea meals and hanging the solar light strings in the new Bali pagoda?" I said.
"No. I've slotted in a half hour of rest on the third Tuesday morning after we've re-grouted the downstairs bathroom and before we take the dog for his annual worm shots," she said.
Lesson 4 - It's OK to set one goal, but don't overdo it. I moved into this house four years ago this month. The previous Norwegian owners, who moved back to Norway to live, were big fans of yellow. I think it has something to do with living in a very cold country for years. They were so excited by the Australian sunshine that they brought it into the house. Everywhere. Except for my office which was clearly the last room painted, using whatever was left over from when they were settling on colours for other rooms. It has been a drab light blue ever since, with a very drab green trim. For four years I have walked into the office and wished it was another colour. And now it is. You might have heard a faint sound off in the distance on and off over a couple of days a few weeks ago, and wondered whether someone was strangling a cat or pulling their toenails out with a pair of rusty pliers. But no. It was neither of those things. It was me swearing and cursing as I painted the office on a couple of stinking hot days while my demented, nearly deaf dog wandered under my feet. And I felt virtuous in the end for completing it, which is a state I haven't reached since…. well, never mind. Job done without too many disasters, which conveniently gave me another excuse to do nothing for days afterward.
Lesson 5 - Read books like it's 1976 again. I spent a lot of time reading books in that year, during the daytime when I should have been at school, despite being in year 11. No one seemed to mind. I would look ahead at the school day, decide that it looked boring and head back to my bedroom to read a book. I don't recommend it, and you wouldn't get away with it these days, but it didn't seem to do me any harm. During these holidays I've spent many happy hours wandering round every one of my excellent local libraries, and read many books. It struck me, as I stretched out one fine day with an excellent book, a pot of tea and toast (heaven on a stick, in other words), that hours of concentrated reading can now seem like an indulgence, in an age where online publishers cheer if people stick to an article for more than a minute.
The real world crashed back with a vengeance this week, but my newly-painted office made me smile.