Back home. Miles from sandy beaches and epic sunshine. Surrounded by that well-worn rainbow of toys and books. On the other side of Labor Day. The air is crisp with the promise of fall and new beginnings. Children buzz through the streets, burning the last of summer energy before school. And the newlyweds are off. On a plane as I write this. Headed to an exotic locale. Soon, they will be far away. Together. And alone. On their honeymoon.
I am a big believer in the honeymoon. Not for the obvious reasons like walks on the beach and endless cocktails and fairytale romance. No. I think for some (for me) the honeymoon is the first time in our "adult life" that we are allowed - and we allow ourselves - to stop. To think. To dream. To ask questions and let them echo without grabbing for the closest and most convenient answer.
Now, this opportunity to stop and think is dangerous. Dangerous in the best possible way.
Two friends of mine came back from their honeymoons and quit their plum jobs. At the time, I thought this was disappointing and cliched, a slap at feminism, predictable. Now that my friends had husbands, they halted their professional wheels. This upset me. Until.
Until. The very same thing happened to me. I went on my honeymoon. For two weeks, I held his hand. For two weeks, we locked eyes and talked. About silly things. And serious things. We sipped wine and devoured desserts. There were no hovering parents or bosses. There were no deadlines or schedules or alarm clocks. There were no expectations.
And I don't think I realized it at the time, but for two weeks, my mind loosened. It breathed. It's amazing how contorted our brains can become. I don't think I realized this until I was back. Back at work at the law firm. Back, wandering those carpeted halls in a delirium, a daze, that made that institution seem less illustrious and intimidating. Suddenly, that place was banal and blurry. Suddenly, the sadness was palpable in strained smiles. For days, I stumbled through friends and colleagues and clients, mumbling well-practiced pleasantries.
I had a honeymoon hangover.
And then it was Friday. I'd been back at work for only a week. I was still sunburned. I sat there, alone at my desk, flipping through stacks of documents, looking for something - a word, a name, a clue - I can't remember. I flipped. And flipped. And flipped some more. The hours blended and night came. I looked out the window of my office, at the graying winter sky, at the scattered lights and passing planes, at the people swarming on streets below.
At the world.
And, in that quiet moment, I decided to take the first risk of my twenty-six years. I decided to start over. I decided that whatever it was I wanted, it wasn't there, in that tiny, soundless office. So I packed up that box. I went back into the world. A world that I suddenly wanted to live in, rather than observe from a tiny corporate window.
Sometimes, it is good to get away. To leave it all behind. To let the eyes wander and the brain breathe. To let the ideas flow again. To realize that there are other ways. To realize that there is a world to live in. Sometimes, we all just need a honeymoon.
What do you remember from your honeymoon? Did your honeymoon (or another getaway) change the way you think? Did any of you experience a similar existential shift upon returning to the real world?