Racking my already afflicted brain for solutions to my midlife crisis, I remembered reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love; of course, it took me six weeks to finish it because it’s hard to lose yourself in the decadence of Italian food when interrupted by a child coming down with a stomach virus just as you settle in for a good read at night- Nothing like cleaning up half-digested spaghetti to ruin a detailed, Italian foodie description. Driving to work the next day, halfway between sick children and school kids, I began to get bitter.
“Why can’t I take a year off to explore the world and my spirituality? I would kick ass at meditation! I mastered the art of yoga during the one class I tried last fall when we joined the YMCA. Too bad, I only had time to drop the kids for swim lessons now. After one yoga class, I’m sure I’m ready to work with a Guru.” My mind continued down this daydream. “If I found a good Guru, would they allow kids in an Ashram? I know we could get pizza in Italy so they’d eat there, but do they serve chicken fingers in India? By the time we get to Indonesia, the kids will be seasoned travelers begging for Balinese rice crackers and fish, I just know it. Greg would love Italy and Bali, but India I’m not so sure… I bet I could get him to scrub floors for our Guru in India if I promised him a romp on the beach in Bali.” And so I was off…
After a couple of days, my mind really started to pick up steam. I was typing my resignation and looking at flights when I made the mistake of mentioning my fantasy to Greg.
“Are you nuts? Spend a year finding “ourselves”? We aren’t lost, Jenny, just burned out.” He also answered my questions concerning the kids. “We can’t get them to sit still with crayons and a coloring book in our church for forty-five minutes; how are we gonna get them to meditate for eight hours in an Ashram in India?” After nixing my rope and duct tape proposal, he continued. “Is this a family trip you’re planning or a defection? Sounds like you’ve got a nice year outlined for yourself. Let me know where you are so I can send you the kids’ addresses… I suppose my cousin would take one. Your parents aren't fit so no one’s going there, but your sister likes the little one...”
“Why can’t you raise them? They’re your kids, too!”
“I’ll be too busy touring the country with the band. If you get to leave the kids to live out a fantasy, then so do I!” And so our adult discussion of separate fantasy lives went.
We weren't exactly on the road to a solution... yet.