If one of my kids says, “that sucks,” I immediately say back, “I don’t like that word, you shouldn’t use it.”
But there comes a time when it actually is the best word to use. Which is why it is perfect to describe re-entering your reality-laced world after you’ve been galavanting all over the world for 5 months.
Re-entry sucks, big time.
First, there’s just the sucky shock of being back – in your own country, in your own neighborhood, in your own home. People speaking English. What?
Then you’ve got the suckier in-your-face realization that the dream is over, the journey has ended. That is depressing enough.
But it’s nothing compared to the suckiest part of all, the looming question of, “Now what are you going to do with your life?” Well-meaning friends ask me this daily, it’s commonly the first thing out of their mouths, after “did you have a good time,” and “are you glad to be back?” “Yes and No” in that order.
But honestly, what am I going to do with my life?
My husband’s office manager went on vacation for two weeks, and just before she left my husband said to me, “You’re going to work for me for a couple of weeks.” Like he had already decided this.
I, of course, was personally affronted. I said, “What? You can’t just tell me that.”
“Why not? You’re not actually doing anything.”
“I know I’m not! But you still have to ask me. Nicely. Besides I’m very busy. I can maybe come in on Wednesdays. In the afternoon. After lunch.”
It’s not like I’m exactly sitting around eating bon bons and watching soap operas. I might if the soap operas were better, not that I would know, I’m just saying.
My time has keenly been spent staring obsessively at paint samples in the hardware store, then purchasing wild colors. My favorite is this deep teal/cobalt/luscious blue for one of my dining room walls. This newly minted wall has received several rave reviews, I might add.
When Curtis comes home from work he just smiles and nods at the fresh paint tracks. It’s reminiscent of the time I was overdue with my first child, Zack. My maternity leave had started and Zack wasn’t making any moves to show himself to the world, so I took to painting anything that didn’t move. When I painted my stairs with red risers and purple treads, I knew the baby had better come soon. But God Bless Curtis, who just said through his surprised expression each day, “That looks great!”
It’s kinda what he said when he saw my new blue wall.
And the new couch pillows. And the new drapes. And the new bedside table. And the new bed I bought off Craigslist.
Except that, do you know what is not sucky during re-entry? The fact that your husband finally sees how hideous your master bedroom really is and agrees wholeheartedly that you should slap down some money and make it right. Even if you’ve already spent the majority of your money in, say, Tokyo.
So now I have a beautiful new master bedroom (freshly painted, I might add) that is finally like a sanctuary after all these years. And therein lies the rub. Because if your bedroom is like a sanctuary and you don’t have to be anywhere…..do you get what I’m saying here?
It takes every ounce of discipline to pry myself out of that bed each morning. It’s painful, but at 7:00 am my alarm goes off and I go wake up Zack the high-schooler. Yes, he can set his own alarm and do this himself. It’s not for him – it’s for me. Then I drive him to school. Yes, he can take the bus himself. But it’s not for him – it’s for me.
Afterwards, I get in my morning run, push Gracie out the door to middle school, and then go to “work.”
I promised myself I would write a book about our adventure. “I’ll have so much time when I get back.” Yes, that’s true. But putting pen to paper has proved harder than I thought. Mostly because I am so distractable. (is that even a word?)
Suddenly the importance of untangling computer, keyboard and speaker wires is urgent. Keeping the kitchen sink sparkling now trumps all other duties. Making dinner is an eight-hour affair which requires a brand new recipe I’ve never made and fresh ingredients from the store, or several stores.
And with every passing day goes every passing memory. I think I can actually see the memories of our trip floating past me and out the door, never to be seen again.
I’ve promised to write, and write I will. I’m going to slog it out in this blog and keep writing even if it doesn’t make me or you or anyone else laugh. It might make us all cry. But nevertheless I’m going to put words down and see where it goes.
It just might make the suckiness of re-entry disappear.