When I was about 8, my cousins decided that we would pitch a tent in the woods behind our holiday home, and camp out overnight. During the day leading up to that, it seemed like a fun, adventurous idea, but by the time evening came, I wasn’t so sure. I remember a growing knot in my stomach, and a heightening sense of dread as everyone else got increasingly excited. I smiled, and inwardly panicked. When bedtime came, I managed to get into the tent, but minutes later burst into tears and ran into the house again. Oh the relief! But I was disappointed in myself too.
Some things never change. It may not involve camping in the woods anymore, but my behaviour is the same. Every ‘exciting’ experience I ever have, I approach with the same mixture of dwindling excitement and growing apprehension. The only difference is that now, as a grown-up, I don’t have the option of running away. On the whole, I am glad about that. If I had been able to run away, I would have never lived in France for a year, difficult as that was. I wouldn’t have gone away to university. I wouldn’t have had children. And oh so much more. There are many days when I face the temptation of hiding away in my safe home, and not venturing out to the big, scary woods. But, as I discovered a year on, camping out can be a lot of fun.