I’ve been mentally packing my suitcase for a few weeks now; worrying how I’m ever going to fit all the pairs of shoes I might need over two weeks into my 30kgs of luggage.
I’m going back to the homeland this week, all on my lonesome, for a well-needed holiday to catch up with family and friends.
I turn fifty this year, and this is my treat to me.
Although I consider myself an independent, confident woman, it has been a long time since I travelled this far by myself so I’m understandably a little nervous. I made the trip to Australia when I was a student at twenty-one… and there was that time when I decided on impulse to drive from England to Germany without stopping…but since then I’ve never been long-haul on my own.
Where does the confidence of your twenties go?
Marriage doesn’t help. In spite of the best intentions, it’s easy to slip into the dangerous territory of becoming reliant on each other. Although the old man and I have an equal partnership, we have always had a traditional arrangement when it comes to travel – he takes responsibility for connections, passports and luggage, while I manage children and vomit.
But in spite of small peaks of anxiety, I am experiencing a childish excitement at the thought of watching movies without interruption, sleeping without Kurt’s gawky frame on top of me, eating all my plane meals without judgment and letting go of worries and concerns I can doing nothing about once I’m up in the sky.
That’s not to say I haven’t fretted like a toddler for the past few weeks about whether this is the right time to go, but it will never be the right time so I’m ignoring my old friend ‘doubt’ and taking the bold choice of self-care. After the last couple of years of exhaustively splitting myself into many different facets of care – to meet different family needs – I need to recharge my batteries and heal.
I’ll miss the family, though. Our migration has made us a tight-knit unit and we have rarely been separated. I’ll think of the old man when I test our UK credit card in the Champs Elysees, (without fear of immediate recrimination), I’ll miss my girl chats with NC about life, love, friendship, make up and men and I’ll hanker after one of Kurt’s big, goofy smiles or sudden bear hugs.
But I will be fifty this year and it’s time to start thinking about me again. As Kurt reminded me the other day – it can be a real mindfuck knowing that you might only have twenty-something years left – so I need to make the most of each day.
I will grab this trip by the balls, embrace every new experience and moment of happiness, push myself beyond my stupid, self-imposed boundaries and have some fun.