Thelma and Louise meet Velma and Mildred
My dear friend/writing partner and I hopped in my car for a four-day get-away to write, relax, stroll on the beach, and escape the day-to-day “stuff” that can suck out our creativity. We’d done a few of these trips before, and never written one page. This time we made a promise to ourselves, and I publicly declared, that we would return with pages in hand (or at least on our laptops).
And we did! But, what we also did was sleep. And take naps. And read. And eat. And go back to sleep. And eat some more. And watch movies. At one point during the trip, I gazed up from my novel with a sort of “third eye” to look at these two little old ladies hunkered down on the couch, cozied up with their cups of tea and afghans, one asking the other if the room was too cold, or should we turn on the pellet stove, and thought, “Good, Lord, when did we get so old?!”
It was comical: the first night we went down to the beach, but turned around because the fog was too dense! We watched a movie at 7:30 and were asleep by 10:00, waking at 8:30 the next morning. We calculated that in four days and three nights, we slept approximately 33 hours.
I am not going to publicly disclose our past “Thelma and Louise” days, but both of us recall moments of sleeping a total of 33 hours in a week...or fewer!
But, this is what raising teenagers does to a person. I truly feel that our life force is constantly being sucked out of us with a high-powered vacuum, then power-washed with a hose. Part of this exhaustion is from them pulling away, another from their need to be infinitely right. And yet, they need reality checks from us along the way. Combined with this is our psyches being triggered with our own recollections of our teen years. Was I like this? Did I react this way? I couldn’t possibly have talked this way to my parents? And the worrying…don’t get me started. Upon asking for a later curfew, and my responding, “I’ll consider it…but I’ll never stop worrying,” I loved how my teen told me with such calm authority, “Well, you’re going to have to stop worrying.” You’re right. How silly of me. I’ll go look for that button on my back, and turn off my worry switch…
One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott, who recently co-wrote a book with her son, Sam, Some Assembly Required. I love the blatant transparency with which she writes; it’s confessional. No pretention. She knows that she’s a wee bit controlling, worries, ruminates, and has to be reminded that if she could just pray and let go, she’d be less exhausted. I think I should probably commit most of her book to memory.
I do know this: laughing at ourselves, stepping away from the “insanity” of the hamster wheel of laundry, errands, cooking, “Pick up your room!”, and a million little “shoulds”, refreshed my soul like a drink of water in the desert.
Maybe we didn’t have the wild ride that Thelma and Louise had…those days are behind us. We’re settling in to a different stage in life. I’m sure we are fun and much nicer when we aren’t so exhausted. Then again, we wouldn’t want our lives to quite play out like those two women…we got to be refreshed AND come home…Thelma and Louise didn’t.