As I write this column I am thinking of a dear friend of mine and her hubbie who are at this moment in time wandering around New York, with cold feet and cold noses no doubt, but living a dream. Going by the excitement in her voice yesterday she had less trouble packing her bag than making the decision to take the break. When we disconnected, I smiled because it is such a feel good factor to witness a dream or someone’s wish become a reality.
For months my friend hemmed and hammed; maybe they could do one of those weekend breaks in Dublin or Galway, maybe Spain or Portugal, but between all the maybes I knew and she knew where she wanted to go but she cancelled the reality of such a trip with a truckload of buts.
The ‘buts’ have becoming thick and fast since May, at a time when she pulled down the shutters on her shop and accepted that the force of the recession had blew her business into oblivion. Losing that shop was like losing countless years of her life. She had clung on with stubborn determination until her pretty finger nails couldn’t hold on any longer. It was time to let go. So it has taken her a while to grieve and burn a few bridges.
I suggested to her at that time to focus on another dream, something more immediate, something fun, even crazy, something she always wanted to do. She sat for a moment in the kitchen sunlight, thinking, and that’s when she told me. “I would love a break. I haven’t had one for centuries.” Wrapping her fingers a little tighter round her mug of tea she leaned back and looked at the ceiling and smiled. I would really love to do something exciting like go to New York. Just to get away. Just for the fun of it.
Her life hasn’t been a break, not by a long shot. Though there has been much joy, there has also been much pain. Yet, we still find it so difficult to go with our instinct and take or make the opportunities when they come. While my friend was running the shop it was unheard of to take a break. She worked seven days a week and sometimes Sundays too. There are many other reasons that would justify why the girl needed a break but why do we need to justify anything? So much of our lives are spent working and fulfilling roles that we never question or justify so why should we have to come up with a liable reason to fulfil a dream.
The ‘buts’ and the ‘don’t know’ kept coming until I texted her at the end of September. ‘Did you book?’ ‘Not yet. Still telling myself it costs too much.’ I texted her back, ‘So do funerals but people keep dying.’ (Sometimes, you just have to spell it out.) That was on the 30th September at 15.27pm. I received a text three minutes later. ‘Ok, away to book’. A while later she was able to confirm her trip to New York, when she was flying, where she was staying and she couldn’t wait! And now it is her second day in the big smoke! Hope she pops into Macy’s and brings me back something nice but the greatest pleasure of all will be checking out the photographs and listening to her stories over another mug of tea when she gets back. So go on, take a leaf out of her book and live a little…you can’t afford not to.