On Why I Seize the Day

Ever since I can remember I’ve lived each day at full throttle. Packing as many fun activities, outings and adventures into every weekend as possible. And then some.

I’ve always pondered why I am the way I am. It fascinates me. Is it because I’m from a broken home or my starsign? Perhaps it’s because of my family or a generation thing? Is it because of my personality or is it down to some sort of deeper reason? And is it a good thing or a bad thing – does it even have to be one of the two?

Full Speed Ahead

My holiday itineraries are always filled with all.the.things and I’ve been known to return home feeling exhausted, craving another holiday to recover from the first. Deliriously happy and satisfied, but tired.

In more recent years I’ve slowed a little because my holidays have largely been family trips, but even then I’m sure most would describe them as fast-paced. Most of our family trips have been multi-stops, trying to take advantage of other nearby spots. Our New Zealand adventure earlier this year is a great example.

I’ve mentioned time and time again how I treat each trip like it might be my only chance to see that place and therefore, sticking with the attitude of trying to cram it all in. I guess this is one of the reasons I seize the day.

Counselling…Myself

A little while ago I started a counselling course, loving the introductory course and then the second level. Learning about whys and hows of everyday life is super interesting to me. At first I pushed back on some of it and to some degree there are still aspects that I’m not sure I entirely agree with. I think I have a more blended outlook (or perhaps I’m in denial!).

The course suggested that a large bulk of who we are is down to what happened to us in life from when we were born up until the age of around 7 years old. And I guess not necessarily what happened to us, but how we processed it and how our caregivers treated us during that time. Two people can go through the same thing, but have entirely different experiences.

Supposedly as a child you think the world is about you and that things happen in your life are because of your actions. If your feelings are dismissed or not recognised then it can have a profound effect later in life, often masked as other traits. Anyway, I think I’m digressing a bit here, but check out The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram as she has some great words of wisdom and nuggets to get you thinking.

So back to why I (or may be you) seize the day. It’s said that sometimes people fill their days because they’re scared of silence and not having anything to do because time and space allows the chance for feelings to surface (typically negative ones that we might have pushed down).

Some people keep busy because it pushes away the chance to be lonely – perhaps a feeling that started in childhood. Some people gravitate towards a busy, read chaotic, lifestyle because it feels familiar and comforting (even if the chaos wasn’t necessarily positive, it still feels like home).

Is it due to divorce?

When I was 8 or 9 my parents got divorced. It was messy and horrible. My dad had us for the weekend each fortnight. I’m the eldest of three. On each of those Saturdays he would take one of us for the day (on a rota, so we all had a turn), we’d sleep over and then on the Sunday he’d pick the other two up so we’d all be together for the last day.

During those weekends dad would always take us out. He wasn’t flush by any means, but he’d save his money up and then spend it on us three. I remember him saying that he never wanted us to turn round and say we didn’t want to see him. And so his way of guaranteeing that was to make sure it was the most fun weekend.

We didn’t have rules. We never ate healthy food and we pretty much had free rein. If we wanted McDonalds for lunch and dinner, we got it. If we didn’t want to eat it all, we didn’t have to. No questions or drama.

I don’t remember us ever asking to go to a specific place (aside from McDonalds), but I do remember getting in dad’s little Punto and asking ‘so, where are we going today?’. Because it was a given. We’d always to be going somewhere.

I think I’ve been to every farm within a 40-mile radius of Northampton. I’ve been to all the theme parks, the splash pools, playgrounds and parks, and every tourist attraction going. Some I’ve been to multiple times. We weren’t rich in terms of material things, but we were rich with experiences.

And so upon reflection, looking at my behaviour patterns and digging a bit deeper to see what I’m mirroring or searching for, I think I like to be busy and to pack my weekends with adventures because it feels homely. You learn from your caregivers, so I think I do what I know.

My wedding. Pic by Julie Skelton

Is it due to my starsign?

I’m a Sagittarius. The sign known for loving travel, adventures, exploring.

I think my insatiable desire to see the world and explore is something that’s in me. It seems a little crazy to think that every person born within this short period is exactly like that, but for me the Sagittarius descriptions have always felt true. I feel seen when I read the post above. And so, as woo woo as it sounds, I think part of my need to seize the day is written in the stars.

I can’t help it. I have to feel free, wild and like a born-again explorer.

Am I running away from things?

I always feel like I’m best when I’m travelling. I’m in a good frame of mind. I feel like I’m achieving something and getting joy out of the trip. Aside from the one to Egypt where I was ill for weeks, they make me happy.

I’m less shouty. The housework can’t defeat me if I’m not there to see it. I don’t feel like I’m coasting in life because I’m fulfilling my self-defined purpose to see another bit of the world. So I guess on some level I’m running away from the not so shiny version of myself. But of course, it’s not sustainable (at least with my income) to go on overseas trips every month, so I’m not sure it’s entirely related to running away.

NZ

Is it because of my outlook?

And then of course, there’s the fact that life is short. The older I get the more I realise how truly lucky I am to be alive. How many diseases and illness there are and how many people die far too young. And even the older people, who die having never completed what they set out to do.

I can’t bear it.

I’m reluctantly accepting that I may well die, even in my 90s, not feeling like I’m ready to say goodbye. Not feeling like I’ve accomplished the world, completed every level of the imaginary experiences handbook or scratched off every bit of my travel map. I know that, but equally I can’t help but feel like I have to give it my best shot.

I almost feel like I’d be doing life an injustice if I didn’t seek to fill my days with the world and all it has to offer. Admittedly lockdown has forced me to slow down and to listen. To appreciate the simple things in life, like a simple stroll to the park.

Is how I seize the day changing?

Travelling across the world during peak coronavirus times has also made me re-think my plans for the next few years. I don’t really comfortable flying at the moment and instead my interest has turned to local adventures. I’m starting to build up quite the list of local sights and activities. Sure, I’ve already enjoyed a lot of them with my two babas, and some even with my dad all those years ago, but I’m getting joy from them.

Perhaps deep down I felt I had something to prove by travelling across the world with my babies, but I’m not so sure. I’ve explored whether maybe on some level I wanted to give my kids even more than I had – to fill some sort of void. However, I don’t think that’s the case. I just bloody love exploring and feel like if I’ve been fortunate enough to land on this planet and am able to, then I should attempt to see it all – to widen my view of people, places, things and thoughts. What a privilege.

It’s just now, I feel like I’m getting a lot out of local spots. We’re still having those smiles, laughs, questions and thoughts. It’s just without the worry of flying during this stressful (obvs, just my opinion) time.

I think before I was trying to seize the world, whereas now I’m more focused on seizing the day, wherever that might be.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear if any of this resonates with you?

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