I am back from a recent family visit. I have never lived close to family, and often times, they are days away by car, many airport connections, rental cars, hotels, on so forth. It has been difficult, to say the least, and the onus has been on me to travel. I am not sure why, but my family rarely, if ever, comes my way. No matter, this was one of the life events I promised myself I would attend – my nephew’s high school graduation. I was thrilled to be there and even enjoyed staying up all night to help with the senior party. Oh, and I celebrated my 55th birthday. Whoop Whoop
I stayed with my sister and brought the minimal amount of items, borrowing what I did not have. She was most accommodating and I am grateful for her flexibility and giving nature. One aspect that stood out was her inclination to make sure I was having a good time and that I had fun during my “time away”. Then I would ask her, “away from what?” We would both laugh as we adjusted our perspective. It was easy to forget that I am on a permanent vacation. I am not on someone else’s timeline being pressured to return to something I loathe at a place I detest. I am here to visit, to GIVE of my time and myself. I am coming TOWARDS and not going AWAY. Now that I am writing, this is actually hard to explain.
I have held a professional job for decades. These jobs all provided paid vacation time of some sort. I would take one or two weeks at a time a couple times per year, depending on my leave balance, stresses to be away, my daughters schooling; there were many factors that went into the planning and schedule parat. Most, if not all, of those things depended on who was traveling (me, me and child, the whole family), how much time we had and how much money. External factors pushed the choices, paved the road, and, to a large degree, dictated what that vacation would look like.
The family visit vacation was always a struggle. I was spending time and money away from the things I loved, like a camping trip or a motorcycle trip or staying at home to work on or around the house. It was always a trade-off, which explains why they only saw me once every few years. Again, planes fly in both directions, so it must not have been a priority with them, either. I assume the constraints were all the same, that delicate balance of family obligation and autonomous fun.
When my parents and siblings began to scatter across the country, these family oriented visits became tougher. Who to see? How to choose? When to go? What about MY vacation? What did I want to do? Always the conundrum. Until now. Now I go where I want, when I want, and most times how I want. I have no external forces…. wait, yes I do. Weather and distance. Those are my forces. Anyhow, you get the idea. My visits are not determined by vacation days or jobs or school or family obligations. I am not taking time out and away. I am making time as part of my present day, as part of my new reality, as part of what I choose.
I am not leaving some “have to” part of my life for the “want to” part of my life. I am IN the “want to” all the time! Wow, let that wash over us a moment. I am living the “want to” part of my life. Ha!! That fucking rocks! I don’t mean to be an ass about it, and rub it in or brag. Remember, I am taking a huge risk and I arranged my entire life around this choice. But, fuck me, I am living how I WANT. Never before has that been the case. Never have I had complete and total freedom. Sure, I let the weather and sometimes money inform my choices, but that is, again, by choice. I have nothing to get back to and nobody to answer to. I have no tasks that are unattended and nothing to catch back up on. The grass will not be two feet tall or the newspapers piled up on the porch. I have neither of those at present. I do not always have the internet for emails and Facebook and web site updates. Again, those, too, are all of my own doing.
My sister and I had to work at our language as she excitedly told everyone we met about what I am doing. She is just that way 😉 She was invested in us having a good time, and a great time we did have. I appreciate that very much. I arrived relaxed and I left relaxed. I had nothing pulling at me or yelling at me to return. Towards the end of my week I was feeling the pull of moving on. It did start to creep in and I was tuned into that. When I got back to where I had left the Jeep I smiled and looked at her and nearly gave her a hug. I was so excited to get back on the road that I peeled out as soon as I could! No disrespect to my friends who I adore, but I was antsy and restless and longing for home.
Now that I am at camp, with the Jeep and my gear, I feel like I am home. I rested long and hard last night and will give myself time to readjust, to reenter my life as I now know it. Still new, still learning, still mostly familiar. I want to readjust to the time zone, sleep and eat schedule, and the increased level of physical activity. I am happy to be outside, smelling the trees and listening to the river. I had amazing visits and time well spent. But, as it always has been with me, it is good to be home. Ahhh, home as it now is. Good to be home. My home.