Friday, May 20, 2011

The Comfort Zone

I am a bit addicted to this whole blogging thing, so I'm always thinking about topics and how I'm going to write about certain things. I really wanted to write a lot about my recent trip to the UK, and the whole time I was there I was on the lookout for interesting things. I had a great time, and I could write pages and pages on what I did, what I saw, my impressions of the place, and my friends, but I'm not sure how many of you would be interested in reading about it. So, what did I take away from the whole experience that I'd be willing to share...? Apart from the vast differences between this trip and the last time I was in London, eleven years ago, there was only one thing that really stood out. There's this little song and dance I do before I go away, especially far away. I do love travel, but I am rather set in my ways, so there are always moments before I go anywhere when I think I would much prefer to stay home. Especially when I'm particularly happy with my home life. Sometimes it's the fear of the unknown, or the sense of upheaval that comes with packing your bags and leaving the familiar behind. Other times it's just sheer laziness, but either way it's a battle to get myself out the door.

Being the first time that I was leaving my son behind this recent trip was no exception, and dragging myself out of that comfort zone caused me a whole lot of angst. I was due to fly out at midnight on Wednesday night but the flights were looking pretty full. Rather than risk not getting on I made a last minute decision to leave on the afternoon flight. I hated the thought of my little guy waking up from his afternoon nap to discover that while he was sleeping his mummy had left the country. I almost pulled out a couple of times but once I was on that plane there was no turning back. The crazy part was that I had wanted this trip. I needed a break, and I've been moaning for months about how hard it is being stuck here while my husband gallivants around Europe and North America (yes, I know it's his job, but it seems so unfair that he has so much fun doing it!). Eleven years ago I travelled because I desperately wanted to be somewhere, anywhere other than where I was. Today I'm living somewhere that feels pretty damn far away from where I started out, but I still feel that same urge to get away. Maybe not as strongly or as often, but the fact that travel is more available to us now, makes me feel like I'm missing out if I'm not taking advantage of it. And yet, at the last minute I really wanted to stay put.

While I was away I read an article where a mum talked about the way motherhood is a series of compromises. She said that there is always a part of you that misses the life you had before children - the freedom and fun and sleep. Then there's the part of you that wants to spend every waking moment with your child, the part that feels like something is missing when your little one isn't with you. You're always torn between the two. I could really relate to that internal battle. In indulging the part of me that needed time out, I was missing out on a week with the little person who is my reason for getting up in the morning. A big part of me was worried that I would miss J so much that I wouldn't enjoy myself, and I wondered whether or not he would forgive me for abandoning him temporarily. But there was also a tiny part of me that worried that I would enjoy being away too much, that I might just decide to hop on a train to Paris and leave the daily grind behind. It was becoming clear to me that maybe it wasn't just the comfort zone holding me back, but the way I was over-thinking everything.

Despite my reluctance to leave I had an amazing trip, and I left to come home feeling like I could've stayed longer.  I didn't have a terrible time but I didn't have such a great time that I couldn't bear to come home again. I think that having a child has made that comfort zone just a little bit more comfortable, but I needed to get out of it to realise just how much I like being exactly where I am. I got a lot out of this trip, but I'll have to fill you in later on how things went down at home while I was away....

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