Edinburgh Fringe Day 22 — On Happiness and Adventure.
It has been ... and still is ... a marked, deep happiness. One that I did not know that I had been missing.
I think it's partly the newness of the experience of performing every night and partly the time I am spending on my own rediscovering myself. Or perhaps rediscovering the part of me that, for so many years, lived alone and looked after herself. She is the one that loves me best because we have had so many adventures together and got through so much. At the time a lot of it was frightening or at least very challenging and I thought, mistakenly, that it was a good idea that those times were over. But the need for adventure is in my blood. And that is exactly where the dis-ease manifested.
The final pointer (although I've known this instinctively for a few weeks) was when I took one of those silly 'Which famous film star would play you in a movie of your life?' quizzes on Facebook. Four times I did the quiz; four times I clicked on 'female' in answer to the first question; four times I answered all the questions about my life and personal tastes. Four times I got the answer 'Jason Statham.'
Who is a bloke. And an actor who does movies about wild, violent adventure stuff and killing people.
Not sure about the violence or the killing people (though there are times...) but I believe that God sends messages and this one seems pretty clear. Adventure, adventure, adventure.
In the past, my inner adventurer and I have travelled abroad together many times, solo, and faced situations as wide-ranging as an attacking barracuda off the coast of Cairns, Australia; being 'the Princess Diana of Changchun' in Manchuria, China; wandering among the windmills of Crete; eating alone in fabulous restaurants in Paris; drinking hot chocolate in St. Mark's Square, Venice; sitting, dreaming in the sunshine at a railway station in Uruguay; riding quarter horses and watching the eagles fly in Montana and bringing the first dog in the world from the USA to the UK on Passports for Pets.
But this part of me has been dormant for a long while now. She has become lost in the happily-married, stay-at-home Maggy who occasionally does workshops and who became somewhat of a hermit because being with Lion and the beagles is so lovely.
I think it was she who became hurt in the terrible time when my former spiritual teacher was angry with me for 'stealing' his work — the intention had always been to write primers for his work so that more people would come to it but it was really a lesson in doing my work, not his. She already had collateral damage from Henry's death and the post-effects of Montana including divorce and, slowly, she began to die inside.
Comedy woke her up again although it was hard to uncurl from that tightly-wound deep hibernation. She knew that this was the time to speak her pain and loss out loud and manifested a dis-ease.
But now, in Edinburgh, having the biggest adventure I've had for fifteen years, she is in bliss; she is wandering the streets of Edinburgh doing exactly what she wants. She is standing up on stage and performing just for the sheer joy of it. She is knowing that what she is doing is absolutely right and wonderful and tremendous fun (if a bit scary at times).
So, the lesson is simple: I have to have adventures. No matter how much I love Lion and my home, this vital part of me who is the explorer, the entrepreneur, the lone traveller, must have a say in my life.
And thank God Lion understands. He would; he's my heart and soul mate. He's enjoyed this time on his own too — pottering at his own pace, free of the stress of the last year, sorting out again how he used to live when he was alone instead of walking at my pace with my timing and, with his great love and generosity, being the rock in my life.
We've had lovely travels together — and worked together abroad too — but, obviously, those still don't count as the adventures that the inner me wants.
Lion and I had the perfect lovers' conversation two weeks ago when we discussed whether we missed each other. Not really. And we were quite content with that.
But this week, as the time for homecoming comes closer, we are glad that we will be together again. This separation has done us both a great deal of good.
It will be so lovely to see him on Monday; lovely to be cuddled and to chat and to potter; lovely to be covered with beagles; lovely to walk on the moors. And it will be lovely to plan further excursions on my next expedition because If I want to be able to keep on coming home to my dear ones, I must not let my friend and companion, the adventurer, slip away again.