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A Grown-Up’s Fort: Running Away From Home

running away from home

Last week I ran away from home. I know that sounds ludicrous. How does a grown-ass woman actually run away? What does that even mean? 

2020 was the year of landmarks. It was a year of many firsts for many of us. First time working from home. First time wearing a mask outside of Halloween. First time dressing up only the upper half of our bodies. The list continues.

I had not ONE day alone in over a year.”

My most memorable “first” for 2020?

Beating the record for time spent with others. Maybe I made a mistake doing the actual math, but I did it anyway. I sat down, looked at my calendar, and realized that I had not ONE day alone in over a year. The lock down imprisoned my boyfriend to working from home, universally deleted any work trips for him or me, and eliminated “going to school” for my kid. I know many of you know the story. I know many of you actually had people who no longer ordinarily live at home return and live at home. Maybe it was fun … at first. OK, now perhaps I’m projecting.

When we first realized the reality of the situation, we were all a bit excited. The changes we implemented, which by definition upped our closeness, felt a bit like the excitement I remember having as a child when we would climb into and close the blanket curtains in our living-room fort. A cocoon barely big enough for one but filled with two, replete with comforters, pillows, and stuffed animals to block out the rest of the world.

And just like the fort days, minutes after shutting out the outside world, we turned to one another with a “Now what?” expression. Honestly, I can’t remember spending very much time in the actual fortress. All the fun was in the anticipation – the careful construction and the very first few minutes sitting inside.

Now what?

I can say with confidence my stamina and patience are much sturdier now than they were when I was nine. I stayed inside our reclusive fort for way longer than a few minutes. And yes, my current fortress has separate floors and wood doors that close and lock. (Although the notion of closing a door is not one I am allowed to entertain…..thanks to the felines who run my world. A Smack opportunity for another day. I digress.)

Although of course I love my boyfriend and son, having them under foot nonstop for a year, even if it was on the other side of a door, was exhausting.

the only thing better than owning your own vacation property is having a sister who owns one”

I am fortunate to have a sister who owns a beach property. Yes, I won the lottery. I’ve come to realize that the only thing better than owning your own vacation property is having a sister who owns one. We already know that it is way better to have a friend who owns a boat. Turns out it works for second homes as well. 

Sure I had to wait until the very last minute to make the go/no-go decision. She rents out her condo and it wasn’t until the 11th hour that we determined that it would be empty for a few days. Much akin to the anticipation I felt while positioning the cushions against the armchair repurposing them into walls, the uncertainty provided a much-needed boost of excitement. Even I shake my head at that little piece of insight. Another first from 2020 — a new “low” on a what-brings-me-excitement “high”.

Running Away From Home:

Last Monday morning I got up and packed up a couple laundry baskets with bedding and towels. Carefully, I placed my coffee grinder, metal pour-over cone, and Vitamix in my Trader Joe’s reusable vinyl grocery bags. My grown-up version of stuffed-animals to enhance the runaway experience.

I spent three full days alone. Three full days … Even now I am overcome with giddiness.

More than a week later, I find myself eyeing our couch cushions and my down comforter, mentally configuring my next getaway. I can vividly picture the fortress in the corner of the room. And I am left wondering, how long would I last now?

5 thoughts on “A Grown-Up’s Fort: Running Away From Home

  1. Jenn says:

    Ohhhhhh this is so good. Resonates 100%. From the forts to lockdown all yes! I got away one night in my parent’s empty city condo and packed my pour over and about 15 books — as if I could finish them all. My time away felt like time had stopped — it was perfect! I’ll be going again soon… imagining it’s in Barcelona or somewhere exotic. Lake Michigan will do for now!

    • Kuel Life says:

      One night…. a great start…. Get your parents to fork over a few more…. Yes, to the pour over. And, very ambitious on the 15 books. How far did you get?

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