I have been considering and reconsidering this idea of going on a trip by myself for almost a year. Every time I thought about it I squashed the idea because I felt that it was vain, self indulgent and quite frankly a little scary. How could I possibly have a good time by myself? I’m not outwardly social with people I don’t know and I consider myself nauseatingly boring. Yet, I haven’t been able to shake this need to travel. Nowhere exotic, just this need to get on a plane and go somewhere, ANYWHERE (more on this in another post). Away from the obligation and responsibility of my life. Somewhere I can pretend for a millisecond that I have no one to care for except myself. Under perfect circumstance I would’ve preferred my husband to join me which would’ve make the decision to take the trip so much easier. But he has been dealing with a spike in anxiety which means getting on a plane is not an options for him right now. Instead here I am desperate to get a break and change of scenery, all the while feeling like he is holding me back. The real thing holding me back… is ME. My husband (bless his heart) is the most supportive man I’ve ever met. He, in fact, has been encouraging me for the last few months to book some time away and give myself an opportunity to recharge. I love and hate him for this. He is perfectly content to stay at home with our children, with no request or need for a break. While I, on the other hand, I have a desperate need to escape the responsibility of parenting and adulting in general. My guilt increases 2-fold here. Once, for wanting to leave my family for a few days and another for spending money on myself to go on this trip. Needless to say the back and forth in my head of whether to go or not has been exhausting.
And then it happened… after a particularly bad day at work, coming home to an unreasonable toddler and a four year old who refused to listen, I finally snapped. I looked at my husband and told him I need to take this trip. My short fuse with the kids and the feelings of resentment were finally overwhelming me. I felt like a horrible parent and partner whether I stayed or went. I figured, I can’t feel any worse than I do now, right?
I’d starting looking at options in terms of where I could go and not be completely out of place by myself. I had narrowed my search to Phoenix or Palm Springs (because why not get some Vitamin D while I’m at it). I had never been to either, but figured they were resort heavy destinations that would allow me the option to not have to leave the resort for anything like meals and entertainment. I finally decided on Palm Springs because the flight options were better and I was able to find a reasonable price for a 4-day getaway. It was settled, in a little more than a week I would be off and free from any of my adult responsibilities for a few days.
I had so many people ask me if I was excited. Truth be told, I was more conflicted than excited. Part of me wanted to be excited, but the more I thought about it the more guilt I had for wanting to leave, and then what if I got where I was going and realized it was a terrible idea because I was lonely. I’ve perfected the art of lowering my expectations to a point where excitement is minimal, in an effort to minimize any potential disappointment (both a skill and curse). Long story short… there is a lot of crazy running through my head at any given point.
I decided to embrace my decision and I made plans to try and get a few things accomplished while I was away. Read an entire book (1 of 6 I have on the go at the moment), write for my blog (ta-da), get a massage, exercise (maybe), and REST. When the big day arrived, I was a little anxious about going anywhere I had never been before. But like any good adult, I pushed those feelings down, bottled them up and put one foot in front of the other. My husband dropped me at the airport and told me to have fun and stop worrying. As the plane took off, I got awkwardly emotional as I watched the ground disappear below me. I had an overwhelming feeling of relief and calmness wash over me that was gratefully released by the tears in my eyes. I was finally doing something for me, ONLY ME and I knew in that moment I had no reason to feel guilty anymore.
I just bought a t-shirt that reads “Life is short, take the trip, buy the shoes and eat the cake”. I know it’s going to take practice for me to truly embrace this expression, but I know I need to, I know in my heart it will make me happy.