Spirit and I got out of Dodge last night.
After thinking about it for years, I finally said, “This is the time.”
It wasn’t an angry, “I’m leaving!” kind of decision. Or, “You people don’t appreciate me!” Or, “I’m having a personal crisis and need to get away!” Or, “I’m bored and need some excitement!”
It was none of that. Quite the opposite. This trip is about honoring myself, and in particular honoring the commitment I made to myself to get my book written this year. It’s about knowing that reaching a goal is mostly a result of just showing up.
Catering to Myself
As I made my way through Wegmans filling my cart with my kids’ favorite foods in advance of my departure yesterday afternoon (maybe they’ll encourage me to leave again if there’s a tasty enough payoff), I remembered I should pick up some things for myself.
I stopped dead in my tracks with the realization that I was only choosing for myself. I did not have to make a single compromise. I could get all the weird foods that my teenagers (and even my husband at times) are turned off by.
Resisting the urge to click my heels in delight, in the bakery section I went for the “Purple Wheat Bread With Fruit” (it really is purple) and the heavily seeded and even vegetabled “Half Marathon Bread.” Artichoke Asiago Dip. Pears. Clementines. Tomato Bisque Soup. And the ultimate decadence, a round of my favorite Epoisses, a luscious and very stinky French cheese that my dear friend Caroline introduced me to years ago in Dijon.
At home I added steel cut oats from the pantry, walnuts, maple syrup, Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee grounds, and a bottle of wine to my provisions. I would need to stop for the half-and-half once I got to Smith Mountain Lake.
One More Thing Before Hitting the Road
The only other teensy weensy thing to tie up before leaving was to rip up the wall-to-wall carpeting from my basement after the previous day’s flood, brought on by melting snow and heavy rains.
Those of you who have been following the blog for a while, please stop laughing. I’ll be calling my spiritual dowser in Saskatchewan to let her know that her protective matrix sprung a leak.
Though I missed my fitness class because of this unexpected development, the effort required to move the furniture, lift a roomful of wet carpet, bag and carry soaked carpet padding to the trash, and bring in rented industrial carpet fans was a more than adequate substitute. (I did this on my own since the water clean-up company was already booked with flood calls. It was pretty empowering, actually.)
So Here I Am
The four-hour drive went smoothly, with Spirit content in the back of the van. My audio book (Cloud Atlas — so far so good!) made the time speed by. Arriving at the chilly lake house, I turned on the heat and the water. No burst pipes, no mouse damage. Yay!
I looked at the bottle of wine. I knew everyone would be urging me, “Reward yourself with a glass of wine! Start your party now!” I left it unopened, preferring to wake up with a clear head in the morning.
The house wasn’t fully warmed up by the time I was ready for bed, so I bundled into sweatpants and a sweatshirt. I tossed and turned under the covers for a while, then got up to look for heavier socks in my suitcase. I chose the thick pink camo socks that our group wore for last year’s mud run, another reminder of the power of just showing up.
I pulled up the hood from my sweatshirt and sandwiched my head between pillows to trap the heat. I occurred to me at this point that I would have been a terrible Boy Scout mom. A rush of gratitude went out to my sons for choosing passions that I enjoyed (baseball and mandatory camping trips in frigid weather not among them).
Though I finally slept, I fell into weird dreams about chasing a sunset with my camera and not getting my kid to a soccer game on time.
Off to a Good Start
I slept until 7:00 a.m., two hours later than usual. But I don’t have to race for time here. It is perfectly silent all day long. Even the dog is silent, preferring to communicate with eye contact or a dog hug rather than utter a whine or bark.
I got out of bed, added my fuzzy bathrobe to my already thick layers, found my wool hat with the ear flaps (Icelandic design, knit in Nepal), and pulled on my Ugg boots. I looked like a crazy person making my coffee and steel cut oats. My kids would have run for cover. But I reveled in the freedom to be myself, to look as kooky or bedraggled or bundled up as I wanted to.
I was already writing while the oatmeal bubbled in the pot. After getting this blog post wrapped up, I’ll turn my attention to the boxes of materials I’ve brought along for book organization.
After several false starts, I think I finally have a plan that feels right. Hopefully by year-end I’ll have translated the vision into a workable manuscript. This trip is about detailing structure, outlining, and creating a plan to chip away at each day for the rest of the year.
Why You Should Consider Taking Yourself on Vacation
It’s true, I’m a classic introvert, so this is a dream vacation for me. But I’d recommend it for anyone.
Enjoying our own company is a skill we can and should hone. Being your own best friend is the only antidote I can think of to loneliness and despair. Being your own best cheerleader is the surest route to contentment and a sense of fulfillment.
Even more importantly, taking care of yourself makes you better at taking care of other people.
So go on, get out of Dodge. I’d love to hear about your adventures when you do (or if you already have)!
If you enjoyed today’s entry and are not yet a subscriber, sign up above for free delivery of new posts to your email inbox. (I promise to never share your information.) Social media likes and shares are always appreciated as well!