Cheer up, it's only six weeks to half-term

12th September 2008 at 01:00
With the start of the new term also comes the post-summer blues. Although for some - who may well have been in harness since mid-August - the expression "new term" may bring only a snort of derision and a half- forgotten memory of distant shores.

With the start of the new term also comes the post-summer blues. Although for some - who may well have been in harness since mid-August - the expression "new term" may bring only a snort of derision and a half- forgotten memory of distant shores.

Either way, we are apparently wrong to feel forlorn on return from our summer break. According to the psychologist Oliver James, the start of September is a time to count our blessings rather than the minus signs in our post-holiday bank statements.

Look at it this way, he suggests: at least you've had a holiday. Apparently those who take them run less risk of serious illness, both physical and mental, than those who don't. They are also less likely to end up divorced - although from the accounts I hear of many family holidays, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the other way around. Some of you, too, will no doubt immediately point out that, in FE, our holidays are considerably shorter than they once were; just the kind of glass half- empty mentality, James would no doubt respond, that he is arguing against.

That there are now more than 300 days till our next long break may also weigh heavily on the minds of some. Get over it, the spirit of James howls. Don't you realise that it's only six weeks to half term?

And if you have had a holiday, then of necessity you must also have a job - surely another solid reason to feel good about yourself. At least that's what James says. The pop-psychologist is of course writing about jobs generally. Cynics might argue that if he knew the reality of working in FE these days, he might just revise that opinion.

But come on. Compared to most other people in the world, us westerners are fabulously wealthy and enjoy lifestyles that others less fortunate can only fantasise about. If your holiday this year involved a long-haul destination, you might just have noticed that the locals around your luxury resort had a lot less to keep body and soul together than you do.

So, instead of mithering on about that long-gone holiday or the summer that never was, why not give thanks for your health, home, relationships and your comparative affluence? There. Doesn't that make you feel a whole lot better?

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