I think that if we are all honest, we must confess that reality is that we've all thought about running away much more often as adults, then we ever did as kids... Perhaps it stress from work, stress at home, or just all around stress but there are days when each of us, would gladly pack a bag, and slip quietly out the back door hoping no one notices.
Of course a large portion of us would never admit it (at least not out loud) maybe for fear of the reactions we would receive or fear of negative remarks. In a world which perceives women (especially moms) as a sort of Wonder Woman, we find it hard to admit to feeling weak or overwhelmed. We criticize ourselves and feel as if we have somehow fallen sort when we can not live up to other people's expectations of us, which in turn makes us want to run away even more .
Statistically it would appear that many women think about running away. I mean, you can simply type in the words "running away from home as an adult woman" into google and you will find thousands of stories from women who either ran away from home, or at very least thought about it. Some sites even go as far as to give you instructions on how to leave home. There are also stories for women who dream of going back to a time before marriage, prior to kids, before their careers, and in all honesty back to a time before stress weighed so heavily on their shoulders.
I myself am guilty of these feelings of needing to escape and wanting to run away (in fact the post was semi provoked by one of those feelings) Yet, all these thoughts and talk of running away, really makes a person stop and question "what exactly am I wanting to run from"? True, we live in a society that perceives women as somehow super human, but is it possible that we are perceived this way as a result of the perception we give to others?
As women we feel we must be responsible for so many things - children, finances, house work, errands, careers, etc. Yet we do not feel as if we are ever entitled to feel overwhelmed much less actually say we are overwhelmed. What if what we were so desperately feeling the urge to run away from, was nothing outside, but something inside... What if the cause for needing to run away was ourselves?
Often times as women we get so wrapped up in our children, our marriage, our careers, our households, that we forget about ourselves, and put ourselves on the back burner... Recently I was asked how my cancer diagnosis changed my view on life, and although my answer was a bit generic and simple, the truth is that my diagnosis caused a profound change in my view on life and things around me.
Cancer forced me to face my own mortality, and severe lack of super powers. Cancer forced me to slow down, and most importantly cancer forced me to realize that the world would not fall apart if I was unable to do everything myself, and I wasn't inferior if I admitted to being overwhelmed or needing help. Fortunately most women are never faced with a diagnosis like cancer, but unfortunately they also never realize these important things, and therefore continue to pressure themselves until slowly they sink into overwhelming feelings of needing to run away, or worse they simply press on in a state of auto pilot never really feeling happy or fulfilled.
Of course there are still days, when I forget I am not super human, and I obviously have days where thoughts of running away still creep in, but I am far more focused on reminding myself of my lack of super powers... I guess my point for all of this soap box rambling is pretty simple... It is never to late to start thinking about yourself, and taking care of you.
Instead of fighting the urge to run, simply stop and focus on you. Never again feel that you MUST single handedly do everything. Sure it takes adjustment, and spending time caring for yourself will feel a bit odd at first, but I promise that the world will not stop if you take some time to step away. Leave those dishes and laundry for tomorrow (or tell the snotty teenager to do them), so what if your house doesn't sparkle, and your menu doesn't always warrant 4 stars. Taking time to take care of you offers far bigger rewards. Soon you will see YOUR sparkle return, and you will no longer fight the urge to run (at least not as often). Soon you will realize that despite your ability to be perfect you are far from inferior and even at times when you may lack the ability to see it, others will soon see, you are a Super Hero !! . So, heres to never again allowing stress to be your kryptonite : )