“I bet you could get 80 percent of that relaxation and recharging just from going away by yourself and not worrying about the retreat part.”
Maybe she is right.
But the piece I didn’t express very well is this: I’m yearning for insignificance.
Doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, does it?
If you’re new to my blog, I’m a divorced mom with two sons. I bear the brunt of the financial burden, the emotional burden and the housework burden—as most single moms do. While my teen would protest this statement vehemently: I am the rock upon which this house is built.
I do not say that with braggadocio or hubris. It is a simple statement of fact, one to which most single mothers could attest (and some married ones also).
Does this mean things go swimmingly and my boys are model citizens each and every day? Absolutely not. But it does mean I know the buck stops with me.
Back to insignificance . . .
When you feel you are the cornerstone of any situation, and were raised with a work ethic like mine, you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders at times.
And after months and months of this without much of a break, you yearn to be less significant.
You yearn, in a very selfish way, not always to be the one the teachers call when your sons fall short or mess up, expecting you to wave a magic wand to make “their” problem go away.
You yearn for a paid vacation, something that does not happen when you work for yourself.
You yearn to have a shoulder to cry on instead of always being the shoulder cried upon.
Bali beckons. Why? Because it means I am alone. No one to have to make conversation with, no one whose oxygen mask must go on before my own, no one asking me to be the responsible adult yet again when my inner child yearns for a few minutes in the spotlight.
I want to be insignificant for a week only, I tell myself, trying to assuage the guilt this yearning brings. And it’s true. I am happy to be there for my kids. But I need to recharge in order to do that with any success.
If you’re a woman and you care for your family, you’re probably not very good at that recharging bit. Most of us aren’t.
I want to meditate and immerse myself in a spiritual place, thousands of miles from my own culture, marveling at how vast our world is.
I want to see my neglected body show muscle and sinew again, stretch and breathe.
I want to see my frantic monkey mind calmed and be in the moment rather than planning a future that may never come or remedying a past that cannot be altered.
I want to nourish my soul, sans guilt. To know that I am just a small cog in the cosmos, and that someone other than me is in charge.
I don’t think I’ve expressed so many “I wants” in years. That may be part of my problem.
And lest you think I yearn for something I know not, let me set you straight.
I remember it clearly. I am in my twenties, in Colorado, hiking up to Emerald Lake in the Rocky Mountains with a friend. We’ve lost and found the trail several times, which is exhilarating but also a bit scary.
Midway up, a thunderstorm brews out of nowhere. And then turns to hail. We are in the midst of trees that were around when my ancestors were still in Europe. They’re swaying, bending, crackling. There’s no real place for shelter. We just have to keep hiking, up and up, and pray for the best. I am soaked, scared and yet, smiling. Because I am reminded of how wondrous and powerful Mother Nature is.
Within a few minutes, the storm stops as abruptly as it started. The sun shines and when we finally reach Emerald Lake, it makes the water sparkle like diamonds.
My friend and I lay on the rocks, letting our things dry, thankful for safety and perseverance.
Oh yes, and insignificance.
Sometimes it is a beautiful thing.