Getting away from it all

New horizon, old horizon
New horizon, old horizon

There are the restless years. The years of trying out jobs, hairstyles, places to live. That era of cycling home with your shopping bags swinging from the handlebars and spending everything you earn. You get caught in the rain, you never have a decent coat and you laugh a lot.

When you are living lightly, unencumbered by pots or pans, children or a hard-to-replace job, changing location is as simple as walking away. You don’t own anything you can’t carry, you don’t owe anyone anything. You book your flight and you go.

Then before you realise what has happened, the landscape of your life has changed. It takes a team of men a full day to move the furniture you have accumulated. You actually read through the quarterly statement from your pension plan. Gardening magazines find their way into your home and you become concerned about booking holidays early.

Middle age. There’s no getting away from it, that gradual drift towards Sofa, the god of comfort and inertia. Or is there?

One of the great things about my sabbatical visit to Ireland (now three-quarters over, tick tock!) is that feeling of having defied the pull of middle age just a little. Packing up and setting off for new horizons was a part of my life I thought I would never have back again, or at least not until my children were raised. But it has come to pass, and this time, after a decade abroad, I have returned to the original horizon of my youth, Dublin Bay – and it feels good.

Has anyone else found a way to feel free again? I’d love to hear about it.

10 thoughts on “Getting away from it all

  1. In my restless, idealistic years I spent a couple of months in Mexico working in a small village. Then I joined the Maryknoll Sisters with the intention of devoting my life to the service of the poor. Eleven months later, I came home and started teaching kindergarten. Now, to tell the truth, I’m content where I am. Still, your question makes me think.

    1. What an interesting background! I think teaching young children and giving one’s life to the service of the poor are not a million miles apart. Thanks for stopping by Nicki.

  2. It’s a difficult question to answer once the kid/s have come into your life. I think you have it when you refer to travelling as there is an enormous sense of unburdening when we take off for pastures new. Lovely post, Clare. Enjoy the last quarter.

  3. In a modest way, I feel a sense of freedom just going for a walk – in parks, along rivers, along the coast, etc. It doesn’t last that long, but at least I know that I can do it again another day. I feel that I’m in my own space and free for a while. of course it helps to leave your phone at home! Btw Clare, whereabouts in Dublin are you based at the moment?

  4. I started writing in earnest and got a dog. Bugger the kids—they can fend for themselves. Dog just listens, lets me think my own thoughts,plot my stories. Dog never answers back. And he’s grateful!

    1. A dog! There’s a lot of talk in our house about getting a dog and I’m the least enthusiastic. I never thought of a dog as a writing buddy though. Maybe I should reconsider …

      1. I used to despise dogs and the way they love everybody indiscriminately. So the one I got is a rescue dog, totally batty and he only loves me. Walking a dog gives you a purpose when you go out. You don’t feel you have to justify what you’re doing. And people talk to you. It gives me an excuse to get out and spend an hour or so on my own, just thinking. When there are seven people in the house (plus three cats) a bit of time on your own is precious.

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