I’ve been thinking a lot about this aspect of my MIFF experience. Why can my husband go paragliding every year – sometimes for four weeks at a time in Europe, often for a week in Bright or Canungra – but it has taken me 18 years to take two weeks off from work, farm and family for something that is just about me?
There are lots of practical reasons – the kids were young, annual leave was needed for school holidays, I would be away from family for work or to care for my parents – but what I think is the interesting thing here, is that I found it harder as a mother to prioritise such a large block of time for myself than my husband did. Ron is just as hands-on with domestics and family so it’s not that he wouldn’t cope. It’s also not because he wouldn’t have supported it, he is enthusiastic about everything I want to do, something, I have to say, that generates a mutual feeling. There have been many times that my responsibilities have taken priority – I’m thinking of the three years it took to mosaic the ute as a community project and the frantic six months coordinating a Day in the Life of Deniliquin whilst juggling family, farm, community groups and a job.
Two years ago my husband went paragliding in Romania and Serbia for three or so weeks. He knew that it would make it harder for me but I admired his resolve in being able to say that it was something he needed to do. It was the first time I realised that it was something I also needed to consider. Fast forward two years and turning 50 was a marker point for me, as many birthdays that end in zero are. Who am I, what is my life, what did I want to achieve when I was twenty, what have I compromised? I realised that I love film and photography and writing and, most of all, I feel compelled to tell the world how I see it.
So two weeks at MIFF, on my own, 50 films and a blog. Have I felt guilty? Hmm, for a moment or two. The expressions on my daughters’ faces when I told them I was going – various versions of ‘what the…? Oh, okay.’ When my husband asked me to be less excited in front of him and the kids in the days before I left. I’m not sure that I achieved that. But here I am now and life feels pretty fanfairytastic. I’m already planning to return next year (that’s a heads up, family, by the way).