Rather than seeing things as they are and asking why, Robert F. Kennedy dreamed of things that never were, and asked why not. I'm the same way.
For instance, I've dreamed over the years of a place where you could go just to rest. I'm not talking about some expensive retreat where the frantic service stresses you out even more. Nor some humorless place where there are no TVs and you have to meditate half the day and whisper to horses the other half. Total escapes are temporary escapes that end in violent capture scenes.
I'm talking about just a plain and sort of quiet place somewhere in the middle of the real world. A place where you could go in times of stress, with whichever of your friends or family members wanted to be there too. A staycation away from home.
Not a hospital, where they're trying frantically to cure you and get you the hell out of there. Not a psychiatric institution, where they mechanically screw your head on and slap a label on you and pack you off like a jar of mayonnaise (with mustard tendencies).
You're not sick, physically or mentally. You just need a little rest—and a chance to gird yourself for your next plunge into the endless unknown. (Kind of like patients at hospice are doing. I once heard of a man drinking a Budweiser, smoking cigarettes and fishing at a hospice just a few days before he died, and that sounded pretty good to me.)
These places—Holiday Hospices, why don't we call them—they'd be really popular in the run-up to New Year's every year, when it's tough to take life by the day as one should, and hard not to gaze out, trembling, at a whole new year of odds to play and bills to pay.
Holiday Hospice would be affordable, because you'd do your own cooking. It's a rest, not a vacation. And anyway, cooking is good for you. You'd do your own laundry and your own shopping, and if you helped shovel the snow, that would be nice. Cable would be covered. There'd be optional cats, to show you what not giving a shit would look like. And optional dogs, to remind you about joy.
You could not stay at Holiday Hospice indefinitely. Most people would stay for a week, but 10 days would be the outside limit. (If you needed longer than that, you should have been at a hospital in the first place.)
You'd return home from Holiday Hospice not transformed, exactly. You'd be mostly caught up on your email, you'd be up on world news and connected to your family and yourself. But you'd be movied-out, boozed-out, napped-out and work-starved and worried-out, your New Year's anxiety now overwhelmed by your eagerness and determination to do something—and, because you are neither a cat or a dog, something useful.
Here we go.
(With deep thanks to the most loving Holiday Hospice hosts, Kirsten, Jeni and Parker.)