I am writing this on a beach in the early morning. The sun is just rising, small boats sway gently on the water; the air is still and already warm – it’s going to be a beautiful day.
This would be many people’s dream. I know I should count my blessings, be grateful. And I am grateful. I know how lucky I am. But this is not my dream. My dream is that I didn’t feel the need to escape in the first place, because every day is mine by design.
My holiday will end and I will have to go back. And by back, I mean back to work. Back to routine and obligation and doing pointless tasks I don’t want to do just because they are on somebody else’s priority list. Back to feeling gut-wrenchingly sick before a presentation and physically and mentally wiped out afterwards. Back to a world where the trade for being able to afford a holiday like this is a Corporation owning me 24/7 for the rest of the year. Back to selling my soul.
I have been here two days. I have not checked my email or even thought about the office, more than just in passing. I have slept for twelve hours straight each night. My skin is starting to look healthier, less anaemic. Already, there is a tiny line of white at the tips of my nails, where for once they are not bitten to ragged skin. I have been outside for more than eight hours a day, breathing fresh sea air. I am eating salads and fish and omelettes and pancakes with fruit. I have not craved chocolate or needed vodka to unwind. I am just unwound.
I dream of going “home” without going “back”. Where home is freedom – of time and choice. Where I have as much sleep as my body tells me I need, not as much as my work schedule allows. Where I have the time and the energy to take care of my body. Unshackled from the desk, to move freely and frequently; to walk, run, ramble, hike. Abandon the fast food and cook slow. Be healthy.
I dream of waking each day and deciding what to do based on how I feel. Sometimes creative – all those notebooks of ideas of things to write if only I had the time. The flute that lies unplayed in my loft; the piano I always meant to go back to, ever since I left school.
The people I see will be loved ones and friends. No more small talk in the cafeteria or endless corporate meetings and forced banter. Some of those people I would choose to spend time with, but most I would not. No more will my family have to fight for my time and my energy while The Corporation takes the best of me. Many days will be blissfully people free.
I contemplate a dip in the water. The air smells tantalisingly salty. I have another twelve days or so of rest and rejuvenation, recovery of mind, body and soul. I would grade my happiness right at this moment as a nine out of ten. But still, this is not my dream.