April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
Listening to: Fever, Ella Fitz.
It’s been a few days since I last wrote. Adam and I took a short break to the east coast and fell in love with the place. We are already making plans to move there as soon as the kids finish high school (maybe before if I can convince him!). We stayed in a gorgeous area close to the river which was cosmopolitan yet suburban, cultural yet urban, lush, beautiful and relaxed. It was mostly very lovely except that I’m a terrible flier and so the last day was sort of wasted with anxiety about the six hour flight home that evening. But I survived with the aid of a decent amount of Valium.
The best thing about being on holiday is being on holiday – you get to eat out three times a day at three different places, accompany said eating with lots of drinking and, in my case, shop more than usual in between. I walked a lot whilst exploring; at a guess around five to six kilometres each day (in fact I think I clocked up ten on one day), I read a couple of books, mooched around with my headphones in like everyone else seemed to be doing and pretended like I belonged in their city. It was glorious – almost like taking on a new identity and pretending you have a different life.
Of course the worst thing about being on holiday is inevitably coming home at the end of it, which highlights the apparent need and/or human nature to want what we can’t have. When I’m at home I want to travel; invariably when I travel I end up missing home. When you’re on holiday, life and the mere act of living seems more enjoyable. Somehow you are freed of responsibility and cares and you are able to fully immerse yourself in the experience of living. Landscapes take on more beauty, the air feels fresher (perhaps depending on where you’re traveling to), people appear to be friendlier and the food and wine tastes better.
The stress which comes from the pace of every day, at-home living doesn’t apply on holiday. Deadlines become more milestones – a broad goal which, if you miss, will not cause harm or retribution. Not having to work immediately removes a huge wedge of stress from your life – at least it does for me. As much as I love my job (and I do love it), when I tell people it’s “challenging” and “dynamic” this really means it’s f’ing hard work at a pace which can only truly be described as outright frenetic. When you’re on holiday, there is a very different, very unique type of pressure which revolves around seeing/doing/experiencing as much as you can in the relatively short period of time you are wherever you are. There’s no real harm in not achieving these goals other than perhaps a sense of disappointment, which is always short lived as you bound along to your next anticipated experience. The other marked difference is that your day of milestones has been chosen by you and will be made up of the things you find most enjoyable. For me it is endless walking, shopping at every available opportunity, patronising art galleries and museums, navigating by using various Starbucks’ as my points of reference, visiting the best cafes and restaurants in the area according to Urbanspoon and exploring the surburbs (I love walking around looking at other’s houses).
Coming home always seems to instill a simultaneous sense of relief and disappointment in me. Relief because I love my home (see Coming Home) in an emotional and physical sense like most people would. Disappointment because once the relief floods in and washes over me, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth which asks “Is this it? Is this all my life is?” This is without a doubt a shallow, selfish, first-world problem and I suspect the real reason for the bitterness I taste when I ask myself these questions. I feel ridiculous admitting to it but it’s the truth really, and there’s no point in hiding from the truth.
I look at my life through two different lenses.
Lens one is pink or fuschia or something not quite rose, but not far off. Lens one sees that my life is good and rich. I have my health – the most important thing in the world (only those who have been without their health will truly appreciate how vital this is to good living). I have my family – my parents, brother, husband, children – and they all mostly have their health. I have few friends but value and love fiercely the ones I do have. I have a successful, challenging (there’s that word again) career which I excel at and am appreciated and rewarded for. I have a beautiful home which provides me with everything I need and is filled with all the things which make and reflect who I am. I have love in my heart for and from my husband. I read and write often and well. I love music. I laugh a lot. I am emotional, spiritual, intelligent and creative.
Lens two is blue or grey or something darker, but not quite black. Lens two sees that my life is lacking. I am plagued by a variety of minor but frequent illnesses – eczema and mouth ulcers, IBS, lactose intolerance and general stomach troubles. My body aches constantly from my scoliosis even with constant chiropractic and massage. I am a co-parent to two children who are not mine and will never be mine and for whom I cannot ever imagine feeling anything for other than vague fondness. In addition to this I have willingly taken on a special needs child, severely underestimating the impact this would have on my life. I have realised that I will never allow myself to have my own children and at times struggle to reconcile what this means to me and my life. My friendships are high maintenance, largely one sided relationships which constantly disappoint me. My work takes up a massive, incredibly stressful part of my life and I question more and more if there is an easier way to make a buck than what I am currently doing. I have a plain 4×2 house in a less than desirable suburb which presents a never-ending source of to-do lists. I love my husband with all my heart but somehow always desire something or someone more, and I seem to be a constant source of hurt and disappointment in our relationship. I struggle to write like I used to. I am chased constantly by anxiety, fear and depression and my life seems to be a constant game of evading, succumbing to and/or escaping them.
Each lens is just that – a lens, a view or perspective of my life and the world. On my holidays I take pink lenses with me; when I come home I return to blue lenses. The lenses change all the time, sometimes I wear one of each. I guess that’s all I was trying to say.