‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am having a mid night life crisis. I love love love my family and my home more than words can express, but there's a little piece of me that longs to be unaccountable.

I was heading home last night and passed a movie theater. I haven't been to a movie in ages and for just the most fleeting of seconds I thought about stopping. To just stop, and go to a movie. To be somewhere unexpected, unknown, unauthorized. I know, I'm a wild one.

I don't feel the need to get away from my family. I do feel the need to not explain myself every moment.

When I was a nanny in Germany I took a language class in another town. Every once in a while, I would get on the train to go to my class and I would decide to go somewhere else. Into the city for an evening of exploring, over to a spa town for some window shopping. It didn't matter. The family I lived with was wonderful - are still dear friends - but there was something about striking out on my own that just felt good.

As a mother, this behavior now makes me a little twitchy. Hi mom! Sorry for making you crazy all those years! It is good to have people know where you are. It's sensible. I know this. But I think it was my training of "do unto others" that stopped me from following through last night, and not my sensible nature. If Chris was three hours later than expected because he had stopped for a movie, I would maybe not be so happy about it. If Lucy or Studley were three hours late and were not in any of the places they said they would be, I'd lose my mind. As much as I cherish my independence (and oh, I DO), I cherish those three people so much more.

Don't people outgrow this stuff? Is it one of those things that comes in waves? Maybe I'm just uber-accountable at the moment, answering questions about what I'm doing from too many sources. It's part of being sandwiched.

How do you find your balance between spontaneous road tripping and making sure the lunch boxes are packed? Do you have a good way to respond to "what are you doing" eleventy hundred times a day? That doesn't involve faking amnesia?


Ambley said...

I would love to be spontaneous, too, even if I had to be accountable about it. In fact, I'm now longing for it. Mmmmmmm.

Lisa said...

This is hard. I knew I was at a serious lack of spontaneity when I got a really giddy feeling of adventure one night when I made an unexpected fast-food run when I was "supposed" to be going to the library to study. Seriously.

I think I'm pretty much accounted for at all times, and I didn't realize how burdensome that could feel until my little renegade fast food jaunt. Right now I get my fix of independence by disappearing two evenings a week from 9-12 to the library at the college where I'm a grad student. It's a satisfying retreat for me, but not spontaneous and everyone knows I'm here. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm with you. I fantasize about little pockets of unaccounted-for time. Sometimes just stopping for a cup of coffee between dropping off my mom and picking up my daughter. Movies...ahhh. That'd be bliss. Especially if I didn't have to negotiate which one to see!

JAbel said...

I have the exact opposite.I'm accountable to no one and sometimes I wish I was.No wife,no dog,no cat,no fish.I guess I'm accountable to my garden but I don't think the plants get jiggy if I don't water them ontime or do they?

Kristin said...

Good thing I'm not very spontaneous. Also a good thing I have the house to myself from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., because if my husband and MiL were around all the time, I don't think it would go well.

Susan said...

Everybody, thanks for chiming in! It's always nice when something's rattling around in the old noggin and others actually understand.

Two others spoke up today, but didn't write. One said that a marriage counselor told him to make time to be a family, time to be a couple and time to be an individual. Smart, that. The other person said that we carry our joy and our adventure around with us - it's not someplace we have to run off to when no one's looking. This is true except that Daniel Craig is mostly just at the movie theater.

Lisa said...

This is soo very normal, particularly among very responsible people, I think. Sometimes when I'm in the car I have the urge to just keep driving. Not to get away from anything, just, well, because.