When I’m on leave from the day job I often end up thinking that I’d quite like to be one of those husbands whose spouse earns so much money that I’d end up staying at home pottering – a mid-morning coffee in front of the TV, a trip to the community library, and a spot of light cleaning in the afternoon. Such seemingly dull pursuits can be unexpected sources of pleasure (read Paul Dolan’s brilliant Happiness By Design for a steer). And when I’m finding pleasure in the banal then that’s an illustration of the extent to which I’ve unwound from my everyday contractual obligations.
Sometimes I’ll ponder what the conversation between me and my imaginary spouse would have been to have secured the role of Kept Man.
In one scenario I’ll imagine us having a grown-up conversation early on in our relationship where he reveals the extent of his money earning potential, I say, “There’s really no point in me working, is there?”, and he agrees. I’ll be found having cocktails with girlfriends asking me, “But don’t you get bored?” and I’ll say, “No, really. I don’t. What good is a Bachelor of Arts in Music and History anyway?”
Other times I’ll imagine us having a massive argument, him blurting out in a moment of guilt, “Don’t worry. I’ll support both of us while you write your book.” I’ll wipe a tear away, nod, smile stoically, and acknowledge his generosity. I never write the book, instead maintaining a daily ritual of visits to the home office where the first draft never gets started.
In another scenario I imagine me having deceived my husband into thinking that I’ve been signed off work for an extended period of time when I have instead been fired. Time passes. Both of us get accustomed to their being only one bread winner. Roles get redefined. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Today as part of my last Christmas holiday hurrah, I took myself off to Lewisham Shopping Centre to buy the neccessary ingredients for my first Itsu Recipe Book excursion. Ingredients are pricey, and preparation is more chemistry than actual cooking. But, the flavours are wild and the end product much cleaner on the palette than British cuisine. Tomorrow’s lunch is Tuna and Salmon Tartare.
These are the points in the holiday I hate. It’s not the returning to work which grates – I get that I have to work. Rather its that I’ve reached my optimum state of mind when I’ve been on leave, even if I haven’t been away anywhere. It’s as though my mind, now fine-tuned, can operate at the best it can.
From here I can see the banal everyday-ness threatening my hard-earned renewed state of mind. I want to protect it at all costs. I fear old habits creeping in to day-to-day life and creating mayhem, like a petulant teenager crashing home, discarding his school uniform all over the floor, before sulking in the corner of his room.
This year I’m returning to my blogging roots and writing a daily journal.
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