Recently, a friend of mine offered me a visit to her home (halfway across the world, mind you) and described the stay as if it were written in some beautiful, glossy travel brochures. It sounded heavenly. I’d have no cares or woes, just fun, peaceful bliss and lots of time to do whatever I wanted. My knee-jerk reaction was to complain about how reality wouldn’t stand for it. But…it still sparked something in me. It allowed me to dream (for a minute) about what I would do if I could simply take a year off.
Like, Poof! You now have a year off to do anything your little heart desires. You will suffer no consequences and at the end of said year, you may return to your normal life – no harm, no foul.
It was a heady thought and really did get my wheels turning – can you hear the screeching? I actually sat down and gave it some thought. What would I do if I had a ‘free year’? If I could do absolutely anything and there would be no negative ramfications?
Write: I’d write. I’d write up a storm. I’d write, articles, short stories, novels, scripts, menus, letters, poems, anything and everything. I’d also submit like mad, enter every contest I could find, spend the time to get a good agent and a publisher. I’d allow myself to feel like a writer, act like a writer, think like a writer, without the dull ache of everyday interferring. And from that, I think I’d change somehow. Maybe not physically, but it’s possible, but certainly on the inside there’d be a change. I might even lose that hangdog expression I get when I feel frustrated and hopeless. The world would once again, become a fascinating, interesting and beautiful place. It would be the source of wonder and joy. An open book, so to speak. Oh yes, it would definitely change me.
Blog: Naturally, I’d blog – I doubt much of anything would change that. But I sense that my blogging would also take on a new tone. Maybe it would be more fun or interesting. I’d have more time to learn about things, people, places, whatever. Maybe I’d even learn some photoshop tricks and make cool pictures. I don’t know – but I’d be the happy, traveling, blogger.
Read: I’d read all the books I’ve been meaning to read. I’d reread my favorite books, perhaps finding a deeper meaning in them than I already do. I’d read the classics, even the Russians. Plays, novels, poetry, volumes of short stories, epress, small press, big houses, small houses. Everything from Shakespeare to Evanovich.
Volunteer: I always wanted to do volunteer work. In my life, I’ve managed some. Like most of us, I give to charities when I can. Not much, but something. But I’d really like to somehow help in a way that would make a difference. I’ve often pondered being a Big Sister or volunteering at the V/A, or a children’s ward in a hospital, St. Jude’s. All of the above, and more. I have a strong desire to help others, and it hurts that I simply don’t have the time to do it.
Garden: Remember that 40lb tomato? Oh yeah, I would love to do that. Or something similar. I have always had a knack for gardening, making things grow. There is something wonderful about seeing seeds turn into living, growing things. Something wonderful about eating fresh veggies out of the garden. Seeing a beautiful carpet of flowers zooming across the landscape. I might even learn how to make my own compost heap. Exciting stuff, eh?
Travel: With the exception of my perilous two cross country drives between here and Florida, I’ve never really traveled. Some years back, I wanted to just pay off all my bills, save some money, buy a jeep or truck and just take off. I would travel around, stop in and see friends all over the country, take on odd jobs as I needed to and write about my adventures. I’d be a travel tramp, so to speak. See much of my beautiful and awesome country, try different foods, learn about different traditions and so on. I know a lot of people might prefer to go to Europe or places more exotic, but I’ve always yearned to see my own country and learn about it. Although, I might have to make a pit stop in Austrailia, as I seem to have a few friends there. 😉
Work Out: Once upon a time, I was in good physical condition. I used to run 5 miles a day, had a great bod and amazing stamina. In recent years I’ve turned into a bowl of mush. It’s embarrassing – but we go back to the workaday life, the lack of time and energy and that’s what you get. I would really like to feel physically fit again. Feel like learning tennis or running a few miles wouldn’t kill me. Like to spring out of bed and greet the day, rather than groan and beg for coffee first thing in the morning.
I’d spend more time with friends and family: There never does seem to be enough time for this either. I haven’t seen my Mom or my siblings for a few years. Not to mention, cousins, aunts and uncles. And it’s not good for the soul to feel disconnected and disjointed from the family and friend units.
Of course, I realize that I’d probably have to take five years to accomplish all of this – still I wouldn’t mind trying. I wouldn’t mind at all. In fact, I’d love it. And I’m sure if I did, I’d become a different person – a better person, someone I’d like a lot. And after writing all of this down, my heart is telling me that maybe I should give it a try. How I could pull it off is a total mystery to me – but I’d sure like to.
So, there is my idyllic life, in a nutshell.
How about you? If you had a whole year off to do anything under the sun, moon and stars, what would it be? What would you do? Would you, afterwards, really be able to go back to your old life? Or would you have changed your life forever?