It seems incredible but, just a week ago, I was perched in the prow of a single-masted sailing boat, legs dangling either side of the bowsprit as I watched the blue Aegean sea skim beneath my bare feet.
With the warm sun on my back I watched for dolphins which I hoped might join us as we cruised to our next mooring, where I knew we could look forward to a barbecued lunch of fish or chicken washed down with cold beer from the ship’s ample refrigerator.
Some lazy chat and a bit of snorkelling would probably follow before we’d weigh anchor and sail on, heading for another secluded bay miles from the crowded tourist beaches and a lifetime away from the deadlines and ringing phones which have been part of our lives since … well, forever.
I know I ought to have been ecstatically happy, relaxed, completely at ease… but instead, all I could really feel was panic and guilt.
If you’re a fan of the BBC television series Red Dwarf, you’ll know what I mean when I say I have confirmed yet again that my default settings are similar to Rimmer’s in the Better Than Life virtual reality game. In other words, I struggle to believe that good things happen without paying a high price later.
I’ve had the good bit; now, inevitably, something is going to sneak up behind me and bite me on the bum – hard.
So, while I should have been savouring good food, an azure blue sky and the simple pleasure of watching brightly-coloured fish dart for breadcrumbs dropped from the table, my mind was chasing thoughts about what work I really should be doing instead.
The daft thing is, there wasn’t any. We’ve deliberately planned a few slack weeks between now and the Big Move to allow us time to adjust and complete the multitude of tasks involved in relocating to a foreign country.
But that doesn’t stop the words of the naysayers and doom-mongers creeping up on you in quiet moments or in the middle of the night, rotating on an endless loop, demanding to know just what makes you think you deserve to live in paradise.
The antidote, of course, is to get to work; to do something – anything – rather than laze around. Fire up the laptop, scour the internet, fiddle about with files, tinker with pictures, even stalk the house looking for things to rearrange, tidy away or clean.
Such behaviour, I know, defeats the object of moving in the first place. One of the main motivations for doing all this was a desire to slow down, to have time for something other than work.
But it seems that’s going to be harder than I thought. It’s going to take time to adjust and to trust to the fact that 12-hour days are not strictly necessary.
In the meantime, I’d better get on with cataloguing all the pictures on my hard drive in alphabetical order….