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.