The crazy thing about life is that you can be bumbling along quite happily (or even unhappily), minding your own business and just being, when suddenly, in your average working week, you are suddenly dealt a huge curveball that knocks you sideways. Or at least spams you right in the middle of your forehead for added humiliation.
This recently happened to little old me, and it all started in a Buddhist temple of all places. I was sitting there, soaking up all the spiritual wisdom being bestowed upon me, when I suddenly got a blinding headache and shooting pain in my right ear and I just wanted to get home as quickly as humanly possible. Skipping along the storyline, I was then bedbound with flu for the next three days, and was still not feeling 100% a full six weeks later, so I reached a clinical diagnosis of exhausted superhero and Cabin Fever.
I’ve always believed “if you keep doing what you are doing, you’ll only get what you’ve got” which was basically five days of school runs, making meals (which inevitably get psychoanalysed by at least two of our four children and then go uneaten due to a plethora of excuses), wrestling referee and homework supervisor, before swapping my job role with office hours Hub, as I’d head off to work to earn money in my weekend job for our next house deposit, that we don’t even need, as our current house still goes on unsold, so there is no next house. Put simply, I have been saving for a rainy day, rather than focusing on creating a little ray of sunshine in my everyday life.
Following an honest chat with the school’s headmaster, I did something I’ve never considered, let alone done before, I took the kids out of school for a week, to help us all switch off in one aspect, whilst reconnecting in another. A week free of routine, where all family meals were shared together, trying new things daily, creating obligatory moments of childhood such as fish and chips on the seafront, in-car singing, colouring with a very competitive Dad, disco with glow sticks, movie nights, pony riding through a forest, touching a crab, starfish, cockroach, millipede, gecko, and snake plus seeing a tarantula and scorpions, relaxing in our holiday home’s hot tub, evening walks through the forest where the kids excitedly spotted a deer…and a spoon.
Yes, the kids still fought, food went uneaten, people still needed to be asked to tidy up the obvious piles of mess, there were frequent sulks from our nine year old son who is allegedly so hard done by in this big, bad world, and baby still screamed with teething pain, but away from our four walls and daily monotony, I cared far, far less.
Yes, I had to work seven months to pay for seven days away, but sometimes, the best things in life are not free, they are bloody extortionate, truth be known. But the health benefits, both physically and mentally, the connectivity between us all, was priceless. So, whether you are happy or unhappy, rich or poor, lost or found; break the routine once in a while, and learn something new about yourself or the world. I did not discover any great revelations, I am still without direction in terms of formulating a new career, but I did learn that my kids love me singing really loudly in the car and making a prat of myself on a zip wire, even during times of change some things go unchanged, children are far less fearless of trying new things in life, the house we recently missed out on (twice) was not the house for me, children love our time and attention far more than they love our bank accounts, and I would really like a hot tub at our next house (for which we no longer have a deposit for). No great revelations, but a lot of realisations and memories, which I for one, think is a rather beautiful thing.