National Day After
Revelers need more time to recover from holiday
July 5 was National Graham Cracker Day. It was also National Bikini Day and National Apple Turnover Day. These days, there are “national days” for almost everything. For example, July 28 is “National Talk in an Elevator Day.”
According to my research, there are more than 1,500 national days to observe in a single year — everything from talking in an elevator to “National Do a Grouch a Favor Day,” which happens Feb. 16.
Because it seems easy to get a national day set up, I think we need one called “National Day After a Vacation or Holiday Day.” I like to celebrate and vacation as much as the next person, but I’m nearly worthless when all the hoopla is over.
For years now, people have been realizing how much we need a “vacation from our vacation.” Our generation has made family trips and national holidays less of a “break” and more of a major event. We pack those days full of activity, and we try to cover as many miles and include as many experiences as possible. We have so many “places to go and people to see” that we sometimes lose ourselves in the process.
Along with all the fun comes the pressure to capture all of it in photos and videos. Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July, and we had a great time with family, friends and neighbors who came to eat and swim. But as I watched the fireworks shooting up from the center of our culde-sac, I realized I hadn’t taken a single picture of any of it. For a second or two, I panicked. If the Fourth of July happens and there’s no photographic evidence, does it make a sound? If there are no selfies to prove otherwise, did it really happen at all?
But then I decided I kind of liked the idea of having a vacation from taking pictures. It felt almost rebellious. Instead of coercing kids to have their fun while looking in the same direction toward the camera, I just watched them run around and laugh and squirt water guns at each other. I snapped a few mental pictures to save just for my own memories. And I think it allowed me to focus on enjoying the day instead of staging a shot.
But on the day after the holiday that familiar sense of overwhelming is back. The items on my to-do list seem to have multiplied while my back was turned. But I’m not ready to dive back into productivity and purpose. I need time to wake up from the sugar coma triggered by all those red, white and blue cupcakes. I need to wash all the beach towels from yesterday’s pool full of kids. I need an on-ramp back into regular life — hence the “National Day After” idea.
There shouldn’t be a specific date for “National Day After Day” because it might vary for different people. I might need it on July 5 or Dec. 26. Someone else might need it on a random Tuesday in October, after she gets back from a trip to Europe. National Day After Day might need to happen several times during the year.
To observe and honor National Day After Day appropriately, I recommend following these steps: Sleep in, or take a nap. Showering is optional. Wear pajama pants all day, if desired. Catch up on things that will make the rest of your week go easier. Eat meals that don’t require you to do dishes afterward. Finally, don’t post a single picture of any of it.
Doesn’t National Day After Day sound incredible? If we could somehow turn it into a legitimate day off work and an excuse to eat more cupcakes, it would be just about perfect. Happy Day After Day!