"The young are always threatening to leave home as soon as they realise that there is a great big world out there beyond the garden wall where the grass grows greener. Young or old, however, when we run away, we are usually running away from self and consequences.
I remember the first time I left home. I was 5-years-old and had decided that three days at first school was long enough for me and that life was too short to be stuck in a stuffy classroom from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm, especially with the 'old dragon' of a teacher, Mrs Walsh, who loved to sneak up behind and whack you on the head with a blackboard rubber just for looking at Gloria Campbell. I managed to travel about half a mile before some interfering adult turned me into the police.
I was 6-years-old when I next packed my case and took off for the hills. The local bobby found me three hours later. I'd got lost in a field half a mile away from home base. When I was 7-years-old I ran away by jumping on the back of a coal lorry after my dad belted me for stealing twopence from my mum's purse. The driver found me covered by an old sack to avoid detection and turned me into the cops when he stopped in Heckmondwike.I ran away from school again at the age of 8 years when Winifred Healey decided that our relationship of boyfriend/girlfriend had run its course and that she intended to marry spotty faced Tony Walker instead when she grew up.
I have to say that I found running away to be easy, but it was not knowing what to do next that usually brought me back home. I would sneak back upstairs and unpack in the hope that my mother hadn't noticed me gone.
Paradoxically, the more I think about it, the more I realise that 'running away' is a kind of 'unhealthy stillness' and that it represents an act of avoiding the consequences of life, plus an unwillingness to move on with one's life by having the guts to stay put and see things through to their bitter end.
In fact, it could be argued that writing is a form of 'running away' from the realities of life, and perhaps it is? Perhaps all authors are little more than petty liars with vivid imaginations who are unable to write more than half a dozen lines of fact before starting to make things up?
As my dear mother used to tell me when I was a child, 'Billy, home is where the heart is. Your home resides in you and like a tortoise, you take it with you wherever you go. You can never run away from home because you can never run away from yourself.'
It was perhaps somewhat ironic that I spent the bulk of my working life running groups for problematic people who avoided dealing with life, These were people whose constant answer when asked why they were changing house, partner or job again would invariably reply, 'I can't stand it...I can't stand it!'
If ever there was such a meaningless excuse for anything, saying 'I can't stand it...I can't stand it!' is the prime one. As the person who doesn't like this or that is whining, ' Oh, I can't stand it...I can't stand it!', they may not be wanting it, liking it etc, but the one thing they are demonstrably doing as they are moaning and whining is 'standing it'. As the American therapist Lazarus used to tell his clients, 'You can stand anything until you are dead; then it's your corpse that's standing it!''
So it matters not what your response to your problem happens to be, whether moving house, getting divorced, having an affair, changing occupations, leaving home, or even getting married; sometimes, these can all be ways of taking 'I can't stand it...I can't stand it' from one situation to the next.
So the next time you and your partner are making mad, passionate love at 3.00 am in the early morning and she is screaming, ' Oh, Fred, I can't stand it...I can't stand it!', in ascending moans of ecstasy, you should tell that whatever she does, she must stick with it and all will turn out well." William Forde: January 13th, 2018.