Weekends away… once upon a time the man of the house and I used to take them on a regular basis. At least once every six weeks we would be zipping up to The Hunter Valley or meandering around Jervis Bay. Because in those days we were a two income no kids family, we took plane trips to Melbourne to watch rugby games or went to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkelling. Ah! Those were the days.
Partly it was because Australia was new to us and we were keen to explore our little corner of its vast landscape. But we were also young and free and not weighed down by children and time tables or having to lug a bag full of nappies wherever we went. Giving everything up and taking a three month waltz (tango?) through South America was largely a no risk thing to do.
Of course we are long past the nappy stage (thank goodness!), but somewhere along the line we started living the lives of our children. Weekends became about birthday parties and cricket schedules. Life is about getting to school or work on time, about scouts and piano and drama lessons, getting dinner on the table, finding time for the gym. Little weekends away have become rare, and routine and responsibilities have become the everyday normal. Maybe that is just what being a responsible adult with a mortgage and two school aged kids is about. About the provision of stability. Maybe this is the stage of life we are at.
Of course, we are lucky. We are able to live an ordinary life. We are not struggling to feed or clothe our family. We are safe and secure. We are educated and employable. We have bought into the “dream” with a house that is probably too big for us, and possessions falling out of every cupboard. Life is comfortable.
Perhaps it is a sign of an impending midlife crisis, this twitching I have to shake things up. To question what we are doing with our lives. After all, Douglas Adams had it that the answer to the meaning of life is 42. My exact age, so perhaps he was onto something there. But I am conscious that we have slipped into this life of comfort and normality, without much thought. We haven’t actively decided that we are not intrepid adventurers or eco-warriors sitting outside the locked gate of a mine.
I suspect if we sat down and thought about it, we would decide that comfort trumps adventure as normal in the main. And, reviewing the photos from trips to South Africa, New Zealand, France, Italy and England over the past three years, perhaps we have the balance right. After all, I am long past the age of finding hostels an acceptable form of accommodation (if I was ever there!). The normal funds the adventure. Maybe I shouldn’t knock it! And there is that word again. The word that defines being 40(ish)… balance!
Perhaps all we need is a little more spontaneous weekend adventures closer to home. Like a walk in the Blue Mountains. Which is just what we finally did last weekend!