I'm going to give up going on holiday.
I am going to sit here, stay here, and not go away ever again.
It's not because I don't have a lovely time. Quite the contrary.
B and I spent this weekend in the Lake District. We rented a fabulous, fabulous house (where friends of ours spent the first few nights of their honeymoon many moons ago. We even rented a silver Corsa to get there, which made us feel even more nostalgic for those same halcyon days). We walked up hills. We sat in pubs (it was raining, ok?). We ate and drank lovely food. We pottered around markets. We spent lots of quality time together (ahem). I even managed to have two baths. That's more than I think I've ever had in this house.
The children (and my parents-in-law) stayed here.
It was utterly wonderful from start to finish.
We got back yesterday afternoon, after a detour to see our new nephew (hooray!), and since then I have been unbearable. I know this, because B has gone out.
I have been grumpy, and impatient, and simmeringly, irritatedly cross. The weight of the world is sitting on my shoulders. Nothing anyone can do for me is good enough and everywhere I look things are accusing me: do me says the laundry, iron me says last week's laundry. Dry me says the teetering pile on the draining rack. Fix me says the pin board I bought in a junk shop in Cockermouth, full of crafty inspiration, and now empty of time and energy to use it. The fridge cries Fill me and the week's meals say plan us. The emails I've ignored flash read me. Deal with us say my work files. Everywhere I look something else cries tidy me. Play with us whine the children and talk to me, the husband.
And I think Stop the world! Stop my life! I don't want to do any of it any more.
And it's all the holiday's fault. Because the holiday was a break from my life: which makes my life somewhere I don't want to be. Even though, I know, I have an incredibly blessed and lucky life all told.
Yet a holiday, and it was true of this one, and also, astonishingly, of our last family holiday, all six of us driving two thousand miles to France and back, makes no demands on me. I wake up in the morning with nothing on the to-do list, whether that be lovely things to do (ring an old friend) or dull ones (fill in the tax return), and that emptiness is liberating. That freedom is soul-lifting. And so the return to real life feels heavy, as I though am weighted down again, however enjoyable the things I have to do may actually be.
I find myself yearning for another life. On our return from France I found myself breaking down in tears and screaming for it: how different it would have been had we not moved/moved somewhere different/if I did another job/ if B did another job/ if we won the lottery/if I were a better parent, and yet, of course, that life would be the same, because even in the Lake District, France or Outer Mongolia, washing has to be done, meals have to be planned and talking to friends remains one of life's great pleasures.
Getting grumpy with my life for being a life, my life, gets me nowhere. But it doesn't stop me doing it.
I am hoping that writing about it will help. Failing that I'll just have to stop going on holiday.
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