Sunday, July 15, 2007

She's a Little Runaway

Am I too old to run away from home? Is there an age limit? Do I have to be a teenager, ending up in a lonely phone booth under a dim street light asking Mom to come and get me before I become the latest victim of the serial killer targeting curly-haired brunettes? Or was that Law and Order?

Any way, there are days I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t care who gets hurt and just runs away. Someone who could just cut off all those ties and think only of myself and my happiness, or at least what I think will make me happy. I’ve been known to drive out to the airport, just to watch the airplanes flying away and think, I have a passport! I could go anywhere!

I have a friend who was frustrated with her life and her marriage, and one night while she was surfing a travel site, daydreaming, a great price popped up on a flight to Hawaii, so she bought it! She just bought it without talking it over with her husband, without getting her family’s opinion, without taking the time to think it over. And she went, too. For a whole two weeks, then came home rejuvenated. I still sit in disbelief and envy of that.

When I mention the possibility of me going away on a trip by myself, I’m met with stony silence. I’m not sure if I’m considered selfish or just downright odd. Or maybe some people just don’t believe I would do it. Years ago, Oprah did a story about women going on “sabbaticals” from their lives. They would do mission work or take a trip or study something they’ve always wanted to do—something that is personal just to them, thereby making them stronger and more confident and better able to share themselves with their loved ones. I thought that was brilliant. But when at a luncheon I related this to a group of young wives and mommies, they looked at me like I had suggested renewing the practice of human sacrifice.

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” said one young, new mom. “I could never leave my child!”

“Well of course you couldn’t, you silly cow,” I replied. “But wait another 10 or 15 years of being mom and wife, then you start to wonder if that’s all you are. You haven’t had a job in years, and it feels like even Microsoft Word is beyond your skills. You start to remember all those dreams you had when you were younger and wonder how you got to be this age without even trying to achieve them and now you’re terrified that you’re too old and it’s too late. Then those three months at the writer’s retreat will sound pretty darn inviting, let me tell you.”

So, maybe I said that only to myself and then out loud only in the safety of my car. Instead I just let the subject drop. It’s just easier that way. These are the same women who buy every Dr. Phil book that comes out, not to solve their own problems, just to read about other people's problems then sit in judgment.

Back to my quandary. To run away, I have to completely change the kind of person I am and find a way to do it without hurting anyone. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think I have to find a way to create a world I want to live in while incorporating what’s already here.

Well, hell. Now I feel trapped. Maybe Dr. Phil has a book on that.


Betty said...

I have wanted to run away many, many times in my life. Why do you think I read so much fiction - it's an escape. And, it works for me. This isn't the last time you'll feel this way. Come to think of it, can I go with you?

Lisa said...

Sometimes the kind of running away that helps you have a fresh perspective need only take the form of a short road trip, or just visiting something you haven't seen before, or haven't seen in a while. It doesn't have to be Hawaii!

Just do it!

susan said...

Can I come to?

Kell, I totally get you on this. I think woman tend to be so intent on taking care of others that they forget about themselves until they get to that feeling of being trapped.

I take off once or twice a year for a weekend with friends...I'd rather do the two weeks alone though...

Go if you can!

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Awwww... Kell. I completely understand you and to be honest? I wonder if those moms who say it's dumb or proclaim they could never leave their children aren't lying. I mean really. Harumph.

My husband is actually a big supporter of me taking vacations alone or with girlfriends. I do it once a year. They aren't long, usually just a few days but they really do help! Usually we try to do something adventurous like whitewater rafting, a mud run, or snorkeling. Nothing kid-friendly. No men.

Do you have any girlfriends that you could do something like that with? If not, come on out to NorCal and we'll take you with us.

her indoors said...

having troulbe getting my comment to post here!
you need to set time for just you doing things that you enjoy either by yourself or with friends. (((hugs)))

Tink said...

Anyone who says they've never felt like doing it is LYING. I feel like doing it at least once a year. One time I actually got in my car and drove two hours away before the thought of work, bills, and my mortgage turned me around.

Lena said...

Marriage and kids can really drag you down at times. I'm in the habit of putting myself last, when I should think of Number One more often.

Before I got married I used to book myself a cheap January room in Blackpool to fully concentrate on my short story writing. I know if I'd mention it now, I'd be met with protest!

No - you go girl! And I will, one day, too!

Michelle said...

My mom takes a vacay all by herself every single year. It may only be to go camping in the next town for a week, but she goes. Why does she do it? Exactly the reasons you've listed. It's to rejuvenate and recharge so she has some energy to give to other people (otherwise she runs out and has nothing to offer anyone).

She used to be a counsellor. She knows about these things.

I say GO! Al will either accept it or he won't but you've got a right to be happy.

Newt said...

I know exactly how you feel. And from reading comments this is a common feeling. And frakly, I think everyone needs a little time on their own for some self rejuvenation. Our guys have week plus long business trips but we are always at home.

Uh, you know you can come up here right? We'll just give you a key to the house and you can come and go as you please. And you'll get more puppy love than you ever probably wanted.

her indoors said...

you packed those bags yet, well go on then jump on a plane I will pick you up at the airport, it would be nice if we could just take off like that though. hope you managing to have some you time x

Chelle Y. said...

It would be nice to take a break from life at times. This newly single mom thing can be tiring at times. In fact, I can go for a nap right now! :)

I am going to my high school reunion in August, so that will be my "break" from life for a little while.

Patsy said...

If your family has objections then you probably should easy them into it by doing something for yourself for a few hours each week or so, a movie, the theater, take a friend and go on a day trip. Then get real brave and tell your family you need to take a week-end and do it! Everyone needs to rejevenate on occasion!