The conventional way of sharing Christmas cheer is to do so with, and around, friends and family. Family, especially. But these women have their bags packed, and will be celebrating the holiday in hotel rooms, far from home. Read their reasons below. (Photo credit: Instagram/@haverstrawhill)
Accounting Executive. 26 And Burnt-out
“I’ve had an amazing year. A great life, so far, if I may say so. And I’m very grateful for all of it. I’m grateful for my parents. I’m grateful for my siblings, their spouses and kids. I’m grateful I have a job and a thriving career. And I get to feel the pride of knowing that I’m needed at my workplace. Like I’m actually appreciated in a special way. Yes, I know how it is with organizations and human resource, but up until this point, they have needed me in ways that has fed my self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. And I’m grateful for all of that. But for some months now, I have been dealing with the effects of running at the highest capacity, without the necessary stops to recuperate. I’ve noticed, its been taking me a longer time to complete regular tasks. I wake up feeling exhausted and go through the day with same. I’ve retorted more than necessary, screamed at an assistant for pouring my tea in a different cup! I’m constantly feeling like there are a lot of things I need to do, a lot of things I need to succeed at, yet there’s not enough time to do those things and also get enough rest. So, I’m feeling frustrated and, unconsciously, taking it out on everyone who dares to come close to me or demand anything from me. I was looking forward to all the family love and visits and meals and wines and games and laughter, but wherever siblings gather, expect a fight and I don’t feel healthy enough to handle even a little ruffle. That is why I’m dropping it all and taking this mental break. I’m flying out to South Africa without my computer. I have a nice suite at Protea, reserved and waiting. As of now, I don’t have an itinerary, but I’m still in my 20s; I know how to have fun.”
Writer. 32 And Racing Against Time.
“I got the idea for my first book at 21. I’m turning 33 in about five months. Go figure why I’m stretching to finish it as soon as possible. I’ve been on it for a long time now, between my regular job in health care. Any writer will tell you that a few hours before bed, and before dawn, aren’t enough to picture a scene and birth the right words to describe it. It was actually my mum’s idea that I go away and get it done. Now as the days are getting closer and everyone is coming home, and exchange of gifts is in full swing, I can see she is not looking forward to not having me around. I guess they will have to make do of a quieter dinning table. Will they really miss me that much? I don’t know. My sister is visiting with her family and has this four and two year-olds who are full of so much energy, I always wonder how she keeps up. Last year’s celebration is still fresh in my memory. My parents went all out with decorations. Our big house was full of loved ones. I can still hear the rings of laughter and whispers of love words. This is going to be my first Christmas away from home and I feel guilty to admit that I’m looking forward to experiencing something new and different. Not that I’m going to be out of my hotel room a lot. I will be spending a greater part of my time writing. But I’ve packed a nice collection of evening dresses and have a journal ready to document the memories I plan to create in my evenings out there. It is a fair deal, if I sneak in a little fun in the evenings, after writing all day? My next big idea may be inspired by an event at Dar Es Salaam.”
Beauty Entrepreneur. 30 And In Control.
“Christmas season has always been a very significant time of the year for me. My Dad, before passing, always used to make us write our plans for the next year during the festivities, and that has become a tradition in my family. Usually we’d come together to give reports about the present year, offer feedback to one another, hold ourselves accountable, present our plans for the next year, spend a day to pray and fast about those plans, then have a feast after the fast. It may sound boring, but it never is, because of such quality conversations about life and business that we get to have with people we know genuinely care about us. My siblings are rich in strategy about basically everything. They are so smart and committed to personal growth. We all are, actually. That is why I will be away this year. I am travelling to be with someone I met on Instagram, early in the year. He’s out in Paris and has visited me in my city twice, since we met. I thought visiting him this season will answer the few questions in my heart: Like, how is he doing, financially? Who are his friends? What is his after-work routine? Is he exclusive to me? It isn’t going to be two weeks of interrogation or anything like that. I plan to have loads of fun with him, while taking mental notes on the things that are important to me in a man. I also have my plans for the next year documented in my phone, and will be joining my family’s strategy session via video call. Overall, I think that exposure to Paris’ rich art culture will be reflected in my plan for next year.”
Heiress. 38 And Figuring It Out.
“The day my husband walked out of our marriage, I was in my home office, studying for a required paper presentation, which was part of the final steps to obtaining my doctorate. I got to our room, when I was done and he was gone. A lot of his personal belongings were gone too. He left me a note that said, “I need a wife. You are not one.” And that was it. I have spent the last few months trying to convince him that I love him as much as I am supposed to, and I’m willing to compromise and make it work. But he is unwilling to negotiate. He wants all or nothing. He wants to be my life, my work and my everything! He wants to be served, cared for and watched over. He wants to meet me at home packaged, complete with a bow, and ready to make him happy. I like the idea of loving my husband and making him a priority, but can I do other things that are also important to me without him feeling under-served? Can I acquire skills that are important to me? Can I study for certifications that I want? Can I take out time to create something in between being his wife? Can he be okay that I will not be available sometimes? I am devastated, right now. His food was always warm and ready on time. I was always available to him and when I couldn’t be, I told him well in advance and made arrangement for the things that do not require my physical presence. I really need to get away from all the troubles and everything that reminds me of it. I need the escape. I need healing. And above all, I need to know that my ambition isn’t a sin. So I will join in from Israel, if asking, seeking and knocking counts as a way of celebrating the festivities.”