We are on holiday – just the four of us – and we are not visiting family (sadly). It is unusual for us to go away when we DON’T visit family and are just us four. There have been a few of the usual kid tensions (no adult ones!!) but nothing major. Indeed it has been a very special and peaceful time.
It’s interesting being in slightly suburban Florida, bordering on the wild Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades. America is an enigma and I cannot decide where I stand on the whole thing. We are smack in the middle of luxury and excess, bordering on wild and beautiful ocean, and crazy bars with names like Naughty Dicks and Nervous Nellies and so on! Where you can buy enormous gigantic slices of Key Lime Pie and saccharine sweet smoothies. Everything here seems to have sugar added, even the bread and the ham. And the pickles. I would be the size of a house if I lived here. However, contrast is incredible. On one hand there is the ocean wild and free…. you see dolphin and acres of empty blue skies…..and then just next door and down the road from where we are staying, are houses that look like a scene from Breaking Bad (just a house shot scene) and a ”Keep America Great” Trump poster swinging from the front porch. As well as huge luxury pads with $600 000 boats parked outside. Everything all mixed up.
It makes me think of the love-hate relationship I had (have?) with alcohol! My gorgeous brother-in-law once remarked that I had this type of feeling towards the booze. And he was spot on. Before drinking I had this excited, eager mild fixation…. the next day (after a big night perhaps) I would have this desperate desire to enter a monastery and never see another wine, gin or beer again in my life. But that feeling would wear off and a few days later I would talk myself into getting back in the saddle!
That cycle is broken. As hard as it was to imagine a year ago, I am now three quarters of a year down the line with no booze. I was carrying my sons’ beer yesterday and thought…. I could easily just have a few sips …. but really?
The noticeable thing for me (and my hub) is how little we are collectively drinking on this holiday. (Me none obvs)…..In the old days we would definitely have had a couple of bottles of wine a night. A sneaky gin and tonic plus beers at sundown…. We would have been going to bed late and waking up slightly whoozie and off key. This holiday, he has a few beers – as does my son – then hub has a glass of wine (just one) and that is it. My daughter has decided not to drink for a while as she has been at university partying up a small storm (thankfully she is a normy) and is not feeling like drinking, so she has not touched a drop for around 20 days.
So this holiday has had no boozy taint. We have painted and cooked, boated and eaten. Marvelled at the American way of life, laughed, got irritated, swam, jogged, done sit ups, played cards and played more cards, and generally had some calm time together. Very little screen time too. My gorgeous son decided to leave his phone back home. This was the cause of the initial irritation on his part! Separation anxiety! He now cannot remember ever owning a phone and has been fishing mornings and evenings.
The holiday has been different. We have been connected and real. When we laugh it is real laugh, not booze soaked. No one is driving the drinking… “Come oooon, one for the road! ” was the rallying cry of my early twenties. I did not know a single adult who did not drink. We were drinking tonnes with my parents when I was my kids age. Roughly. Our holidays centred around booze. Almost. It would be unthinkable not to drink on holiday. I hope against hope that my children see that it is possible and even enjoyable.
The difference is so big, and yet such a little tweak.