The first full week post vacation (let alone one of the most thrilling vacations you’ve ever taken) is a very tricky week to navigate. It’s sorta like nursing a hangover that won’t completely go away – the first day back you’re in a haze in between googling pictures of your vacations or skimming through your instagram pics of the great time you had. You’re sorta lost in the high created by the dopamine of your memories.
By the second day, you’re in denial. Am I really not on vacation anymore? Do I HAVE to put all my energy back into this Presentation? Just a few days ago I was studying Sea Turtles instead of spreadsheets. Oh the agony!
By day three, you just want to escape. I will admit, my browser was set to either the United website or the following windows articles:
“Best travel destinations for Standup Paddleboarding”
“50 Places to see in Europe before you die”
“Top 10 Must Do’s in Maui”
“Best Islands to Live On”
Window after window I toggled between dreaming the fantasy of living on a beachy island to looking up fares to see if I could snag an amazing travel deal. I so desperately want to recreate the spontaneity of discovering an amazing deal to anywhere. I comb airbnb to see if there are any other travel deals to be found.
Montreal, Oahu, Seattle, Vancouver, Paris, Nova Scotia, Mexico, Argentina.
The ideas continue to pinball through my head – I can barely keep one idea and thought straight. Then I started to feel guilty. Am I supposed to feel this much joy and excitement? Shouldn’t I continue to feel sad? Why has this trip given me such a high that all I want to do is go out and explore?!?!? Already a restless person by nature, all I can do is daydream about hitting the road, going somewhere, traveling somewhere and getting into the water on a paddleboard or laying out on a beach for days.
I then start making lists of all the fears I want to conquer. Heck, I found a way to swim in open ocean, travel with a stranger, traverse rainforests and go out on my own. I want to go and conquer my fears:
I want to get over my fear of karaoke.
I want to get over the fear of outer space and be able to talk about space without getting knots in my stomach.
I want to get over the fear of not feeling worthy and seeking external validation.
I want to get over the fear of judgement from others.
I want to get over the fear of worrying about what other people think.
Writing (and picking up writing again) has helped me sort through thoughts. I remember when I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I remember when I wanted a life of adventure before I settled into a stable career. I thought I would live on the East Coast, Internationally and even thought I could make it on TV one day as a network news anchor. I wanted to see the world, meet new people and find ways to spread joy to others.
I have a distinct memory of when I dreamed this alternate life. I was in Washington D.C. in the summer of 2002, the summer after 9-11 happened. I was a part of the Cal-in-the-Capital program with UC Berkeley and ventured to intern in Washington D.C. and live away from California for the first time EVER in my life. My childhood was pretty sheltered and I didn’t have many opportunities to leave my hometown so to live in one of the most vulnerable cities post one of the greatest national crimes was somewhat unimaginable. I remember being in my Cal-in-the-Capital class and getting the lecture of how we should re assure our parents that we would be living in the safest facility possible. Once I was in Washington D.C. I discovered a whole new side of myself. I lost 20 lbs. I owned a fake ID (I hope no Federal Agent reads this). I explored every possible museum and landmark possible in the city. I serial dated. I also spent a lot of time in one of my favorite parks near my dorm – Dupont Circle. Every Sunday late afternoon I would usually venture there with a book, a notebook and a coffee from Cosi. I spent hours there people watching, dreaming and writing out everything that I would do with my life. There were two books that I read that summer that were formative in my life outlook: Tuesdays with Morrie and Use the News. From those two books alone I determined that I would do everything in my power to travel the world, combine my love of journalism with business and seek to make good things happen in the world. I can remember the grass, the sun, the sounds of city the the drops of water falling from the fountain as I wrote these words (to this effect) in my notebook: “See the world and find the greatest love possible. Make your life count for something and do good.” I loved and cherished my Sundays in that park that summer. Those were my afternoons that provided moments of clarity and inspiration.
So I sit here now, stuck in my head, battling the voice and confused about where the next phase of life is supposed to lead me.
Have I done good? One could argue I’ve done some, but I could always do more.
Have I seen the world? I have only scratched the surface. In fact, if it wasn’t for my relationship I probably wouldn’t have seen as much of the world as I have. I have to be thankful to him for that.
Have I made my life count? I sure hope so thus far. But as I read those words today, I don’t know what metrics I would measure that by.
Have I found the greatest love? YES. God Yes. I have found the greatest love…in family, in friends, in pets, in friendships and most importantly in my relationship. While I may not be able to always hold onto my greatest love, I am grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to experience great love, no matter how imperfect it may be. I just hope that I’ve GIVEN the GREATEST LOVE to someone and hope I always will for everyone and everything.
So it’s time to reset some goals and rethink the next phase of my life. Instead of planning another transcontinental escape I find two things to satisfy the curiosity in my head and the aching in my heart (for now):
1. SEE THE WORLD – If no one wants to explore Canada with me, I will go off and do it myself. I want to SUP off all the islands of Hawaii and in every city with a major body of water. I want to reach every continent multiple times in my lifetime and write about it. I’ve always said I wanted to blog (and since abandoning since getting married) I want to actually do it. I want to SEE LIFE. I want to embrace as many sunrises and sunsets as I possibly can in my lifetime in all parts of the world. As my guide, I’ve found an inspirational blog about traveling to your heart’s content. If this couple can do it, then I can too (www.ytravelblog.com)
2. CONQUER YOUR FEARS – I’ve signed up for singing lessons. I’m terrified. Horrified actually. I don’t know how I’m going to sing in front of a complete stranger. This might be the biggest waste of $$$ down the drain but my instructor’s words were promising, “Building confidence in ourselves is a big part of learning music. Voice is not just our instrument but a part of our self that we learn to share through singing…I am looking forward to meeting with you.” I guess I’ll figure it out. I don’t know when I will actually be able to do karaoke in front of anyone (sober or drunk) but I figure now is no better time to try and figure this out. We’ll see how many more fears I might be able to cross off my list.
Life takes a little courage and love takes a lot.
Time to push forward and excel.