Yesterday as I was driving home from the supermarket, winding my way through the hills listening to Jose Gonzales’ haunting voice and guitar chords, I felt more at peace than I have for months. I’d finally allowed myself to envision our summer holidays by the sea – far away from IAC certification, recorded sessions, triads, teleclasses, marketing emails and coaching sites.
My kids hate shopping for clothes – I don’t know how long that will last – so into the supermarket trolley alongside the broccoli and bananas went bargain T shirts, suntan cream, mosquito spray, antiseptic wipes, books and some beaded, jewelled sandals for my daughter, who’s caught in the tweenage years between pretty pastels and peer pressure. I even surprised myself and bought a black and white polka dot dress – with frills.
As I contemplated some San Francisco crime thrillers to read on the balcony in those peaceful hours when the children are sound asleep and the crickets are singing, I remembered in amazement how I’d studied a different Proficiency every day of our holidays in Greece last year. It’s been a roller coaster of a year.
I thought back to the past few frazzled weeks of unsuccessful recordings, studying, buddy coaching, email correspondence, doing critiques and writing feedback. I’d burned meals, fed the kids junk food, watched the house get grubby and struggled to remember all of their after school arrangements. My days grew wearier and I looked on sadly as my husband kept the family together while I drank too much coffee at my computer.
The day I stunned my Sensible Self and recklessly sent in the only two recorded coaching sessions I’d done unselfconsciously, I bought myself ninety days of peace. Ninety days of enjoying my children. Time to relax in our garden and take trips to haunted Scottish castles and dark lochs; time to make memories in the local park; time to fall over in turquoise waves and drink Greek coffee in seafront cafés. Ninety days of salads and wine, jasmine scented evenings and candles.
My life’s the session I want to get a passing score for and when I’m not grounded in my daily rituals, the simple, joyful details of my life – a jug of freesias on a scrubbed wooden table, a hearty meal served on a mismatched collection of crockery, a new book, a furtive kiss on a teddy bear’s nose as I make beds – my intuition withers and I struggle to create anything at all. Bad news for a coach, especially one who loves to write.
Driving home from the supermarket, windows down, savouring the smell of drenched earth in the rain, I turned up the music and decided I’d wear my polka dot dress on the day I get my exam results back.