Na­tional Day Af­ter

Rev­el­ers need more time to re­cover from hol­i­day

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST/TELEVISION - GWEN ROCK­WOOD Gwen Rock­wood is a syn­di­cated free­lance colum­nist. Archives of The Rock­wood Files can be found on­line at nwaMother­lode. Email Rock­wood at rock­wood­files@cox.net.

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!

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