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Tuesday, July 31: Today FrizzText’s Story Challenge is the letter E:  Escape is to break loose from confinement, to get free.

Everybody past a certain age, regardless of how they look on the outside, pretty much constantly dreams of being able to escape from their lives. ~ Doug Coupland

It’s nice to know, based on the quote above, that I’m not the only one who dreams of escape.  And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one “past a certain age,” who does so.  To be honest, I have ALWAYS dreamed of escaping from my mundane life into a life more exciting, more passionate, more adventurous.  Sometimes I am able to escape this commonplace life, but only temporarily.  As soon as I settle in any one place for too long, I find myself again in the midst of the ordinary.

The only way I can see to avoid this is to have constant change bombarding me every day.  I imagine a soldier in a war zone feeling this assault of change, or a travel writer who makes her living by escaping.  I doubt a soldier’s life could ever be mundane, but it must get tiresome just the same.  A travel writer’s life certainly becomes routine as well:  living out of a suitcase day after day, dealing with laundry, transportation and logistics issues, sampling and reviewing hotels, restaurants and tourist sites.  Yes, even that could become a humdrum existence.

the early days of my escape to Oman

So, when I escape, which I have done aplenty in the last several years, the quest is to keep life from becoming mundane.  The problem is that I still must work; that means a routine establishes itself.  I have a bed to make, grocery shopping to do, a commute in my car, a stop at the gas station, dirty dishes in the sink.  More of the ordinary!  How do I REALLY escape?

Maybe Mark Haddon has the answer:  Every life is narrow. Our only escape is not to run away, but to learn to love the people we are and the world in which we find ourselves.

Escape back home to spend time with my daughter Sarah

I am going back to Virginia Thursday morning after spending the last 10 1/2 months in Oman.  When I first arrived here last September, my life in Oman was certainly not mundane.  Or narrow.  But, after 10 1/2 months, it has become commonplace.  Especially now, with the double challenges of heat & Ramadan, it is excruciatingly narrow.  Now, the life I really wanted to escape, my mundane life in Virginia, is beckoning me back.  It looks mighty appealing. I yearn for canopies of shady green trees, rain showers, boats on Deep Creek Lake, walks in the woods, good shopping malls, vegan meals with my sons, medical check-ups, lazy times and laughs with my children.  Time with my husband, my father, friends, my dog Bailey.

Escape to Deep Creek Lake: Adam, me and Alex

I will be in Virginia for nearly a month, and I’m quite certain it will be pretty much the way it has always been.  I’ll feel comfortable in my cozy and beautifully decorated house.  Possibly it will be a mess because it’s been inhabited only by men: my husband and two sons.  I’ll drive the same car, a 1997 Toyota Camry; I’ll go to the same grocery stores, I’ll wash the same dishes, I’ll take a bath in the same bathtub.  It will be mundane.  But, as it’s different from where I’ve been the last 10+ months, it will be an escape.

And after nearly a month in Virginia, I’ll go on a true escape, to Greece, for two adventurous, carefree weeks!  Where I won’t be in one place long enough for anything to become ordinary.

Maybe I should try not to run away again, but to learn to love the person I am and the world in which I find myself.  And when I come back to Oman again, which I will since I renewed my contract for another year, I can learn to love who I am and the life here as well.

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If you’d like to participate, see Story Challenge: Letter E.  FrizzText writes: Do you have to share a story or a short reflection tagged with the letter “E”? For example I’ve written about EGGS and EYES, EAGLES and ELKS, EXISTENTIALISM or Expressionism, about Education and Experiences, Europe and ESCALATORS, ETHIOPIA or Egypt, the EHEC bacterium or ELECTRICITY, about EROTIC as a positive ENERGY or ESCAPE as a strategy, about the EQUAL Pay Day or the EARTH hour, about EMPATHY or EMERGENCY, about ELEPHANTS and EXPOSITIONS, the ELTZ castle in Germany or the “Eilean Donan” Castle in Scotland, about EMMYLOU Harris or ERIC Lafforgue – I’m sure you’ll find an own story or a short reflection tagged with “E”!

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