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101 things to ignore before I die? -Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 2nd August 2017

August 2, 2017
1001 things to do list

101 things to ignore before I die?

We are into the holiday season at last – a time when the pressure should ease off and we have time to ‘chill’…time, as I have written before, to ‘stop and stare’. I have just had a break in the Peak District helping with a teens’ camp for young people whose parents have returned to the UK after working overseas in Christian ministry for many years. Some people suggested that this was a ‘busman’s holiday’ but I have to say it was super to be in a beautiful location with hills to climb, streams to ford and with time to play – and almost no mobile ‘phone access! I even stopped wearing my smart ‘phone on my person and only dusted it off if I felt the need to take a photograph. (Better still to take a ‘snapshot’ with the mind?) Bliss indeed!

1001 things to do list

Listing the things one ‘must do’

I have now returned to the land of wall-to-wall internet and newspapers. One of the first things I have read on my return ‘from the wilds’ is to do with ’50 sunsets you must see before you die’ – and then to be followed by an article on ‘1001 books you must read before you die’. There was then an exhortation to see 1001 movies followed by 1001 restaurants – also to be squeezed in before I die, however long or short that time might be (so morbid)! Fortunately I have seen a few of the movies (Mary Poppins, Dumbo, Free Willy…) and so I might reach that figure sooner than dining out ad nauseam.

Don’t get me wrong: I am keen on movies, restaurants, sunsets and books – and I don’t mind suggestions and challenges – but I’d rather not have the ‘must’ word hanging over me. I feel for the parents with young children who are now feeling guilty because they have booked a two-week beach holiday in Corfu this summer rather than feeling obliged to go to the ‘must visit’ activity centre in Wales, ensure that they visit every museum and historical site in Florence, Venice and Rome and, in between times on the journeys, ensure their offspring work their way through all the classic books from the nineteenth century.

Our Headmaster gives permission

If it’s of any help at all, can this humble Headmaster give you permission to go to a beach (at home or abroad), to stretch out for an hour or so (having applied the necessary sun cream or rain cover, of course), to play with the sand and to investigate the rock pools, to paddle or to swim, without any feeling of ‘must do’? By all means take an improving book or two – but be released from having to finish them if they really aren’t a good ‘holiday read’ – and do encourage your children to keep a holiday diary if it’s a creative pleasure rather than a drudge. (It can be fun to log your postcards, entry tickets, dried flowers, local maps and small artefacts – but only if you delight in recording such things and not because you have to.)

So, have a snooze, enjoy people’s company, take some photos, enjoy a meal out (even with a tomato juice or two), catch up with your spouse or partner, walk the dog and go somewhere fresh – but only if this helps you and your family relax and be refreshed and not because you ‘must’!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster in search of a ‘must-less’ holiday)

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

For more read ‘Idleness is good for you‘ from our blog earlier in 2017.

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