Leaving on a Jet Plane
Last Tuesday I left for a week-long vacation in Seattle. The first “vacation” I’d taken in almost 3 years to the day. While out west, I hiked, ate, drank, was pushed to my mental safety limit by my brother, drank, practiced tour jetes and arabesques on a beach, drove around Seattle in the back of a truck with little plans, walked from bar to bar, got hit on by a 23-year-old (cougar….meow), drank, etc. Did I mention that we spent a bit of time going from one brew pub to another? Yes, we consumed relatively responsibly, but that sort of behavior will certainly cloud up your mind. Which was exactly what I needed. I needed to get cloudy for a few days & then come back to reality. So I physically escaped. No telephone. No internet. No iPod. No computer. Nothing. I was just as stuck as before because the thoughts that buzzed through my bird-brain remained. No going away. You know, the old bits of advice people give you when you want to move all the time…..wherever you go, you move with you.
So for about 3 days the all-too-familiar thoughts stayed. How the hell am I supposed to balance work and school with work being so stressful and hectic? Clearly, I feel like I’m not being supported there. No one listens when I’m crying out for help. All they do is tell me what a good manager I’ll make once I get an MPH but they aren’t listening that management sounds awful to me. I like research. What about dance? Which classes can I fit in? I can’t even think about dating. Dating? Ugh, that one idiot called again & asked me to call when I get back. I don’t want to be an asshole but really am just not that into this guy. Or any right now, for that matter. After a whole lot of beer and even more spending time with the 2 people in the world who know me best, my brother & closest friend, I let go of it a little. And was able to escape, for a few moments at a time, the lists made in my mind or what I need to do when I get back to work and how I could juggle the 4th interview with a hopeful new job without letting on that I’ve been looking. The only way was to just stop.
Stop the thoughts. Stop the inner-monologue. Some people use substances. Some people use god. Some people use exercise. Some people pick up and move. And I have certainly used every one of these throughout these 3 short decades. And still do, but then remember that doesn’t really hold water for very long and that the only tactic that truly works for me is to let go. Just let go of it all.
Before boarding the 2nd most obnoxious plane I’ve experienced (the first one was last year after a Louisiana trip…kids vomiting and a couple making out next to me while hungover & struggling with a messy breakup the weekend before), I stood at the gate, finally stopped it for longer than a moment & started crying. Uncontrollable, big, alligator tears streamed down my face as I choked and handed my boarding pass to the flight attendant. She smiled and said good morning.
As I write this, a baby screams in front of me, some sort of Miley Cyrus or Jonas brother song blares out of my preteen seat-neighbor’s earphones, and a toddler kicks the back of my chair yelling “apple juice, I want apple juice”. Back to Boston from Seattle I go. I’d booked the trip months ago, as the possibility of a mental breakdown grew with each day. Work has been insanely stressful. Going, going, going in a high-pressure job will really wear on you. In just a couple weeks I officially begin graduate school, while I work full time. And I just needed to escape. You know, run away, get going, get gone.
Alas, back to reality. But going back with the reminder that although planes (not this one), friends, bottles, runs, one-night stands (come on, we’ve all done that), and climbing mountains help, it remains within myself that really has control over that.
P.S. to Parents: Children are wonderful. I love them & know that your special little guy or gal sure should meet grandma & grandpa but please consider a light sedative for the child’s sake. These kids are clearly miserable.