It’s getting to that time of that year (yes once a year only) when I really need to get away from being someone’s somebody. I need to go and be me and nothing but me for a while. Selfish? Hardly. That’s the thing when you have children they absorb every last drop of selfishness in your living breathing corpse, so that you become a shadow of your former single self. Up until you have children, you are still single as far as I’m concerned even if you are in a committed relationship. You can afford to be selfish and take off at a moment’s notice, or pull a sickie from work. Parenthood, particularly motherhood does not allow you to do that, and if like me you don’t have the support of family and friends around you to baby-sit the children regularly, then you’re a bit stuffed. Beholden to being the perpetual performing monkey. It wears thin, believe me. I don’t have to qualify my burgeoning atavism with, “I do love my children though”, because I do vaguely remember having a life before selling my soul to parenthood.
There is a point that the selfishness comes creeping back in, and all I desire is to be able to sit at a table on a terrace somewhere with a beer in my hand, and nothing better to do than zone out watching the world go by, preferably in the sun. Sounds like such a cliché doesn’t it? Believe me clichés are good my friends when the likelihood of hell freezing over becomes a salient option.
Last year my time away was spent exploring the cities of Florence and Venice all by my wonderful self, which was a bit of a coup really as it had been a dream of mine since I was 14, and almost 25 years later I had the opportunity to go. Except that I spent my week away feeling very unwell, high as a kite because of the fever that was coming and going in waves inside my body, not being able to eat properly, or enjoy that much dreamt of beer on a sunny terrace somewhere, and generally being in god-awful pain.
I spent my 38th birthday in Venice feeling like I was dying. It was shit. I returned home that day, and the following day I was straight into the emergency room followed by a week in hospital being prodded, poked, tested, injected, scanned, and drugged up to the eyeballs. I did get a lot of sleep though, which is something else I’m forever complaining about. I came out the other side feeling strangely calm, rested, slightly more sane despite having had my holiday ruined by low functioning bowels and a body temperature hot enough to cook an egg. My altered state of awareness certainly gave me a very unique appreciation of both cities though. I remember sitting on the terrace at the Peggy Guggenheim museum overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal and crying uncontrollably at the beauty of it all, like I was having my own personal epiphany. However, I put it down to partial delirium too.
Thankfully my youngest is almost at an age when he will soon be attending pre-school at least in the mornings, so I’ll have a tiny window of time that I can call my own. However, I realise that soon I will have to enrol for my next course with the Open University if I want to complete my degree in the allotted time (before 2017). It means that this summer will be my last and final opportunity to have a proper break away before I sign whatever is left of my soul away to intense study as well as doing everything else I already do on a daily basis. Shoot me now! Please….