Are you stressed and tired? Are you being unjustly criticized and mentally assaulted by obnoxious people (including relatives, co-workers, and strangers who flip you off in traffic)? Do you feel like crap because your exercise bike is a clothes hanger and you just finished a one-pound bag of M&Ms? (I see you nodding in agreement.) Well, there is only one solution to end this misery. Run away.
You can plan your escape on a whim or take several months to organize the scheme. These are a few of my favorites, and the first requirement is that you turn off your cell phone. Yes, you must.
- The Spontaneous, Easy, and Cheap Fling. If you only have an hour, bring your lunch to work and leave at noon. If you have a car, play some rhythm and blues and drive to a park. If you don’t have transportation, listen to music on your Ipod and walk slowly to the nearest quiet space. Just sit there, munch on your food (include at least one cookie), and then close your eyes. Do nothing but meditate as you listen to the music. Then return to work refreshed and rejuvenated.
- The Delightful Day Break. Take a vacation day just for yourself and mark it on the calendar a month in advance. Hike in the hills, read a book, write a short story, plant some flowers, or if your budget allows, spend a few hours at the local spa. By the end of the blissful day, expect some immediate crisis involving at least one of your children, your elderly parent, or your plumbing. But, you’ll be pleasant, positive, and ready for any emergency. No Prozac required.
- The Total Indulgent Escape. This week I ran away to New York City. I’m a volunteer member of a board that was meeting but I wasn’t planning to attend. Then there was a death in the family, I moved my invalid mother to a different assisted living facility, a relative called and yelled at me, I got the Head Cold from Hell, there were problems with a book I was publishing, and I gained five pounds. So, I did the only thing that made sense: I bought a discounted flight and left for the city.
A farmer’s daughter from Idaho going to New York City is similar to Dorothy seeing the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. Humming “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” I hit the Big Apple running as if being chased by flying monkeys. In three days, I attended the meeting, laughed until I snorted at a hilarious Broadway musical, toured the Steinway piano factory, meandered through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, took a solemn trip to Ground Zero, watched a performance at the Lincoln Center, and ate and drank fabulous food and wine.
On the last evening, two friends and I found Nizza Bar a Vin Italienne, a delightful Italian wine bar, and sat outside consuming fresh gnocchi, shrimp salad, and crusty bread. Of course, we consumed a bottle of Barbera wine presented by a perky waitress who was determined to become a Broadway star. We watched as police closed the street and a crew prepared a movie scene for actor Liam Neeson. My runaway excursion had been the perfect remedy.
Studley, my heroic and understanding husband, was waiting at the airport, and we hugged and kissed like long-lost lovers. Then he asked if I wanted to go find a place for dinner. I shook my head and said, “There’s no place like home.”
Today’s blog was fueled by a healing bottle of 2005 Barbera D’Alba wine from Italy. You can consume it while watching a famous actor in New York City or enjoy the wine on your patio. Either option has its rewards.