Recently I’ve noted a number of reports on Australians who aren’t taking holidays.

In fact, almost a third of Australian workers have no planned leave in the next 12 months.

In a rare moment of nostalgia over the weekend, my mind was cast back to my youth in the ’80’s. I saw a video clip from 1986, where a lady was dancing with total abandon to herself. It may have been my ignorance to the big bad world at the time, but I was taken by the simplicity of  it all. No special effects, REAL instruments, images of books with tangible paper pages. Classic ’80’s production epitomising the world in which I grew up.

Life seemed much simpler then! Although my parents would have me believe otherwise. Their constant ribbing of how easy we have it nowadays – EVERYTHING is literally at our finger tips. I’m grateful for a job that requires me to see and interact with real people as I could easily live out my life from the couch in my living room.

And sadly in this day and age, I could also see this as perfectly normal!

Life as we know it surely can’t get much more convenient. Yet we have never been more stressed – and are arguably the most stressed country in the world. I don’t need to reel off the stats on our national health status – but I will point out that they are indicative of the load that we are collectively under.

Convenience is the very poison that has led to a stressed out nation. In the ’80’s, the old brown briefcase was the limit to what we could bring home each night. And I was taught as a young lad that you never made phone calls around dinner time for fear of interrupting someone else’s dinner! The phone calls that we received on our old red phone with it’s numerical rotary dial were never related to business – low and behold we often had callers who wanted nothing but a good old fashioned ‘chin wag’ about anything other than work!

The nature of drip-fed stress infiltrating more of our waking hours makes us feel busier than we need to be. I’ve got a few mates who call my mobile and sometimes get no immediate response. They have dubbed me ‘Grandpa‘ because they are under the illusion that I forget to carry it with me sometimes. Truth be told, I deliberately leave it behind or, God forbid, turned off, regularly during the week. The world hasn’t yet ended because I missed an important phone call – or <insert mobile electronic media notification example here> – for that matter!

So, in sync with the ‘holiday season’, may I suggest the emergence of a new pattern – or perhaps the re-emergence of an old one: switch off the phone, shut down the computer, perhaps even leave the laptop at work…and rediscover the many joys that can be obtained outside of work. It’s fine to enjoy work: happy is he who’s work is his play – but remember that play can and should occur in many forms. And while we’re on cliches regarding work: Absence really can make the heart grow fonder!


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