“I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…”
Or rather, “I’m leaving on a jet plane, and I have spent the last month meticulously planning meals, activities, and schedules, so my wonderful in-laws will survive for nearly two weeks with my 3 high spirited children” (It doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it does it?)
Either way, it is true that my husband and I are shortly heading to Greece for just under 2 weeks, ostensibly for a conference my husband is attending, but as we all know they are just an excuse for grown ups to leave their families and responsibilities behind, and drink wine in an exotic location (or is that just what I remember from my days working in the travel industry many moons ago!)
When my husband told me about the proposed trip, and that he had organised for his parents to come and stay so as I could come as well, you would have thought that my initial reaction would be excitement. But no, mainly all I felt was a sense of trepidation. While I am a big believer in an annual mumcation, the longest I have been away from my kids was 5 days while my hubby was still at home with them, so the thought of almost 2 whole weeks away seemed unlikely and also slightly unnecessary. You see, I quite like being around my kids most (not all) of the time, and I don’t actually feel the need to escape from them or my life for that long.
But then I got to thinking that what I am doing is not escaping my kids for two weeks, but reconnecting: with my husband and with my SELF.
If I am completely honest with myself the thought of this has me feeling slightly hesitant. It has been nearly 13 years since my hubby and I will have been child free for that length of time, and like many couples with kids, the bulk of our communication is logistical. For example, let me give you an example of what I like to call our ‘lexts’ (or logistical texts, which I would argue are far more prevalent than ‘sexts’ in the world of mobile phone use, but not nearly as sexy to portray in the media).
Can u call me please?
Can u do pick up from soccer training?
Don’t forget to pick up milk and bread.
Dancing finishes in 15 minutes, can you go get her please?
Oohh, yeah, I bet reading that got you all hot under the collar didn’t it! Sometimes, we even go so far as to add a kissing emoji if we are feeling particularly saucy!
This time away will give us a much needed opportunity to really talk to each other, a chance to check in with each others lives, and see that we are still on track. Do you do this often with your partner? I certainly don’t, there is always so much going on, we simply never find the time, and when I do have the time, I am usually too exhausted to want to have such a conversation. I wonder if this sounds familiar to you?
Remember the art of doing nothing at all?
There will be days on this trip when I will be by myself, with nowhere to be and nothing to do, and no one to answer to. The last time I remember that feeling was…um, actually I can’t remember such a time, it has been so long! I can’t say that I feel excited about this, it will be interesting to see how I actually do feel, but what I do know is that it will be good for me.
We all need a chance every so often to hit ‘pause’ on our busy lives, and spend some time in our own company. You certainly don’t have to fly halfway around the world for this to occur (a weekend retreat would work just as well). But, just maybe, this is exactly what I need right here and now in my life, to reflect on all I have achieved in the past year, to help understand myself a little better, and to feel into what is really important to me in this amazing gift called life. Pretty deep I know, but when else will I have a chance to dive in, you have take opportunities like this and make the most of them.
But fear not, it’s not all about the inner work! I am also looking forward to lying by a pool reading magazines, getting through a whole novel or two uninterrupted, and wandering around the streets eating and soaking the experience of a new country in (and of course posting the odd jealousy inducing photo to Instagram, I can’t let that opportunity pass me by!)
Hmm, on second thoughts, I am starting to get a wee bit excited about this wonderful opportunity that I am truly grateful has been presented to me. Who knows what I will discover about my relationships, my work and myself: I’ll be sure to keep you posted…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic? Have you been away by yourself: what did you learn? Or if not, how do you think you could make it happen?