I’ve spent a lot of my life counting days. In school it was the days to Christmas break when I would get to see my extended family and eat myself ill on my aunt’s peanut butter pie or the countdown to the 2.5 month summer holiday, where the heat would lead me to laze around someone else’s pool (American Resident Rule #1776: always make sure you are friends with someone with a pool). As I got older and summer breaks sadly became a thing of the past, it was simple, the days until the weekend, the days until my next paycheck, the days until that holiday that I really needed – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. We spend a lot of our lives counting away days.
There are 8 days left of my maternity leave and this is the first time I’ve really counted the days because when I look back on the last 11 months it feels like I’ve not been living in GMT, BST, or EST, but instead some sort of ZOT (Zone of Timelessness). It wasn’t so much that I never knew the time. I would check the clock to see what time The Duchess was waking up for a feed or perhaps if we were off to a swim class or to see friends. I would check the clock to see if it was almost time for The Native to walk through the door after a long day of work or if it was the right time of day to put The Duchess down to bed or for a nap. But I have not been counting days away. Quite often I’m completely unaware of what day it is, let alone which month. Right now, jotted on a notepad is that I have two appointments on Monday. I assumed they were the same Monday. They are a week a part. I didn’t separate the two in my mind at all. They were just on Monday.
So, when weeks ago my boss asked me to work a Saturday conference to get reacquainted with some of our old volunteers and to meet some new ones, I agreed that it would be a good idea.
There is a Saturday coming up which is before you are back from maternity leave where you will work for a day. Stored. I’m on top of it.
My boss texted me on the Friday before:
You still ok to come along tomorrow? Be there between 9-9.30am. Dress smart.
I texted back and thanked her for letting me know what the dress code would be and confirmed that I’d be there. No problem.
And then I returned to the ZOT where I have been for nearly 11 months. There I remained until 8.26am Saturday morning. The Native was out with Big Brown on his morning walk with our car. Our only car. The Duchess and I were having a very lazy start to the morning, as one can do when living in the ZOT. And then it happened.
Dear readers, I’m not one to swear, but expletives flew out of my mouth more times than I’d care to admit all because, suddenly, I became aware of the day, the month, and the time. And there was somewhere I was meant to be.
I’m sure there will be very few periods in my life where I can live in the ZOT, where you don’t count your life away, where you can just be because you are exactly where you want to be . In eight days, this amazing period of dwelling happily there will end. And I’ll write more about how I’m feeling about that when it’s time, but for now I plan to live in the ZOT and relish every.single.second of it.