The Proper Way to Spend a Holiday

G. W. Brock June 1 1908

The Proper Way to Spend a Holiday

G. W. Brock June 1 1908

The Proper Way to Spend a Holiday

G. W. Brock

Relaxation is a Necessity and Should Result in the Sojourner Returning to the Daily Routine of Toil Refreshed and Invigorated. —What Canada Offers in the Line of Rest and Recreation.

"GOOD-BYE, I wish you a very pleasant hodiday.’’

Soon such parting words will be heard on every hand. In a few weeks Canadian summer resorts, watering places, picnic grounds and holiday haunts will be teeming with people all on pleasure bent.

How we woo the fickle goddess ! We never cease the chase! Summer after summer we continue to seek solid, wholesome enjoyment in an annual outing. Very few of us are successful, and why? Simply because we do not go the right way about it.

Some practical hints and observations, therefore, at this rapidly approaching vacation season, may not be amiss. Helpful suggestions should prove acceptable. Many persons in this world are generous with advice,

but recipients do not always accept it unless accompanied by the demand of a heavy fee. It is only then that an impression seems to be created. At the risk of being told to keep admonition to myself, I intend to lay down a few general facts for the direction and guidance of those who, in a few weeks, will be given a fortnight or month’s respite from the daily routine of labor, and yet are perplexed by the problem “of how and where can I most profitably and pleasantly spend my vacation?’’

Much depends, of course, on the depth of your purse, the time at your disposal, your predilections, tastes, capacity for enjoyment, environment, the nature of your occupation, whether your hours are many or few, your duties onerous or light—in short,

the vigor and enthusiasm with which you customarily tackle things.

Employers, in this age, generally recognize that a vacation is a necessity, that the employe, if he or she spends a holiday in a proper manner, or takes full advantage of an outing, will, during the coming year, be in a position to render better service, and do more efficient work. It is a relief to get away if only for a few days from the daily grind. It is only the diligent toiler who finds the fullest measure of enjoyment in the temporary relief from work; only he or she who has labored for many hours, constantly and faithfully, can adequately appreciate the complete meaning of that sweet word leisure—a term always best applied on the farther side of toil.

To realize to the full the value of a holiday we must be conversant with hard, unceasing, unrelenting duty, then, when the holiday comes, we should get away from the diurnal task as far as we possibly can. All this, however, is not to be interpreted to mean that we are not to take pleasure out of our every day occupation. One should not continue in a business, profession or calling in which he or she has no higher motive than simply to put in so many days with the

sole object of drawing so much money at the end of that period. We should have a higher conception of responsibility, more generous ideals, larger thoughts, nobler desires, and loftier objects than being mere time servers and wage earners.

But there! I am sermonizing, whereas I started out with every good intention to give a little holiday advice. My words are not intended so much for those who are financially able to take an outing at any time, that they may feel the need of one, as to those who get only one vacation a year, and that generally in the month of June, July, August or September. I mean busy people, the clerk, the bookkeeper, the stenographer, the accountant, the teacher, the artizan, the factory employe—those who consistently and conscientiously fill a place in the workshop, the counting house, the office, the warehouse or the store, from eight to twelve hours a day, month in and month out.

Ideas as to what constitute a holiday materially differ, and it is well to remember that what is one man’s occupation is another man’s relaxation. Evidences of the truth of this old saying may be found on all sides. What may constitute a beneficial and thoroughly enjoyable pastime on your part may be nothing but a dull, dreary, unhealthy proceeding to your neighbor or your associate. The most concise and readily understood definition of a holiday is a change. An old saw has remarked that a “change is as good as a rest,” a meaning that is not far astray. A holiday, furlough, trip, vacation, outing, hegira, excursion— call it by whatever name you please, may be translated into action in various ways—a visit to friends, a few days spent at home or in camp along the banks of a limpid stream or the shores of some picturesque lake, a trip to the country, a few days’ stay in another city, a flight to a new district, a long cruise upon the water, a motoring tour, a bicycle peregrination, etc. It does not matter whether it is paddling a canoe, rowing a boat, hunting in the wild wood, working on

the farm, cultivating a flower garden, digging in the soil, prospecting, building a hen house, sawing wood, or breaking stone. In some of these, certain individuals have found enjoyment and diversion—a true holiday, and always will. There are many excellent ways of profitably passing a few days release from ordinary everyday vocation. Individual ideas of a beneficial and joyous outing differ— always will differ as widely as the poles. Just as our respective tastes vary, just as our means of making a living are diverse, so are our habits, dress, conversation and pastimes. What may bring infinite pleasure to one is irksome to another. What will afford unbounded happiness to many may prove a listless and monotonous undertaking to others. No specific regulations can, therefore, be laid down, but a few general rules may be advantageously followed.

In the first place, now that warm weather has come, take your holiday just whenever you can get it. Do not settle upon a fixed date. It may not be convenient for your firm or employers to permit you to depart just when you feel or think you would like to go. As long as you are in the service of another, that other should first of all be allowed to suit his or her convenience and not yours. Such a course on the part of those over you, or those in authority, should not be regarded as arbitrary, since you are paid for the time that you are away and others are possibly doubling up, doing your work in your absence in.addition to their own.

Again, it may be urged, take your holiday whenever you can get it, for, if you postpone matters or dilly-dally too long, you may in the end discover that you have delayed to such an extent that procrastination has once more proved to be the thief of time, and that you find yourself utterly unable to get away through some unforeseen circumstances or emergency. If such a situation should arise—and it not infrequently does—you have only yourself to blame. The fault is clearly one that can be laid at your door, for you probably would not go

on your holidays or take your vacation when you could, or when the first opportunity came. Delays are always dangerous, and, with respect to a furlough, there is often no better time than the present.

Then, do not carry the worries of business with you. Get away from your everyday occupation, its exacting cares and constant routine of duties as far as possible—not necessarily in the matter of distance, but in thought, feeling and action. The store, the workshop, the counting house, will get along without you. Do not imagine that you are such an indispensable adjunct to any establishment that no one else is able to fill your niche. This is altogether an erroneous conception. The place, in which you have the honor and privilege to serve, was possibly created many years before you darkened the door; it will, doubtless, continue long after your presence has ceased to come within the precincts of the shop or office.

Your identification with any firm, or business does not mean that you have a life lease of the job. No matter in what sphere you labor you will always find others equally as clever,

industrious and capable as yourself. This may be a mere homily, but plain, unvarnished truths need to be driven home and applied once in a while. In taking a holiday, therefore, burn all bridges behind you. Do not have any business letters, business telegrams, balance sheets, tim,e schedules, monthly statements, or anything else forwarded to you that may tend to recall you, disturb your equanimity of mind or ruffle the serenity of your disposition. Business and pleasure w^-e never yet successfully combined when taking an outing. They will no more mix on such an occasion than oil and water.

During your absence of a week, a fortnight or a month, do not endeavor to follow the same course that you have on the other forty-eight or fifty weeks of the year. Secure a complete change, a radical alteration, a thorough metamorphosis. Do something, read something, conjure up new thoughts, go to some place, visit somebody, or look upon some scene' that you have never witnessed. If your life is mostly spent in the country, go to the city, and vice versa. A change of scene and association, of

occupation and environment, is exactly what you require ; but this does not mean that you are to plunge into excesses, to indulge in dissipation, or follow certain practices that you would not do at home or when engaged in your every day toil. Be moderate, be sane, be prudent. Allow fresh and elevating thoughts to surge through your tired, overworked brain ; permit your hands to do something in the line that they have never wrought before. It may be rowing, swimming, playing baseball, building a yacht, erecting a cottage or even hoeing in the garden. As to where you should go, how you should travel, what you should read, and the pastimes you should follow, depends largely on yourself. Remember, though, that a vacation does not imply freedom from moral restraint, and the correct standard of living. A holiday should never mean deserting the straight and narrow path, and taking to the broad, wide open one. Do not, in the words of a leading Canadian divine, “Lose your religion, your sense of honor, your refinement, your convictions, and your manhood when changing your garments or going

through the various pursuits incidental to an outing.’’ A holiday is not a jollification in the sense that the latter term is frequently used.

How long a holiday should I take? is another question often propounded. To this no hard and fast answer can be given, no rigid rule laid down. It all depends on your habits, the general state of your health, the nature of your employment, the responsibility of your position, the size of your pocketbook, and the way you spend periods of relaxation from toil. Some extract as much exhilaration, bodily and mental, in one week as others would in a month or six weeks. Even

a day off affords certain persons more real, solid enjoyment than others secure in a week or two weeks absence. Get as long a period as you can in justice to yourself and your employer, but do not in your demands transcend the bounds of reason, common sense or business exigencies.

Where should I spend my holiday? is still another interrogation flung at friend and foe alike. Distant fields, whether for pleasure or business, often look more tempting and inviting than those near at hand. The enchantment, the glamor, the allurement disappear as we approach them, and we realize, often when too late,

that we have equally as attractive and favorable objective points at home. Remember this, however, that Canada offers as many attractions in every county and Province as any other country under the canopy of heaven. There is no grander scenery, no more picturesque landscape, no more mag-

nificent rivers, alluring lakes, stately forests, charming valleys, bewitching islands, gurgling streams, majestic waterfalls, and sylvan surroundings than are to be found in this fair Dominion. Entrancing routes by river, by rail, by highway, present themselves on every hand. Days of brilliant sunshine; nights of profound slumber, journeys of tireless novelty await you. Everywhere there is plenty of change, of vigor and all the makings of innocent amusement and agreeable reminiscence.

It is not necessary to go to Maine, to Massachusetts, to California, to Nevada, to Florida, or to Cuba to see the great handiwork of nature. Until you have gazed upon all that is worth seeing at home, all the beautiful sights that present themselves by countless tours of water and of land ; until you know something more of the Dominion’s charms, her many retreats by sea and mountain, plain and valley; until you have witnessed the splendid heritage bestowed by a bénéficient Creator upon every Province, be content. Learn to appreciate more and more a country where traveling facilities are unexcelled, where the conveniences of modern life are unsurpassed, where every thought is taken of your comfort and welfare at innumerable resorts, where there is no artificiality, sham, despotic decree of fashion, or vulgar display of finery and wealth, which too frequently characterize the popular watering places and expensive hotels of other lands.

Then let us in the words of James Thomson, conclude:

Who can paint Like nature ? Can imagination boast, Amid its gay creation hues like hers ? Or can it mix them with that matchless skill. And lose them in each other, as appears In every bud that blows ?