Travel – for business and pleasure – is kind of an unavoidable luxury these days. Part of the fabric of our culture, and certainly a favorite pastime for many a man with an online dating profile. It’s just not cool to admit you don’t like traveling. So…yeah! Of course I love it!
For me, it means a few months of pre-travel panic. Everything must be perfect – legs shaved, eyebrows plucked, pores extracted, hair highlighted and cut, teeth whitened, pounds lost. It’s anxiety. And when you’re away from home, it’s living in the moment, feeling the heartbeat of life and not having enough “familiar” around you to ignore what you’ve been repressing. Travel is a jolt, a way to shock yourself into looking at things as they really are. Scary.
But not liking travel doesn’t mean you don’t see the beauty in it.
My favorite part is getting home. Unpacking. cleaning. Ah, sweet routine. I thought I lost you!
But your eyes are new too. You can’t look at things quite the same way again.
A trip last year to Monaco to visit a dear friend actually turned out to be my saving grace. After a year at a job that I wasn’t sure I was a good fit for, it was an opportunity for me to realize – I can still function in groups! I haven’t lost the ability to laugh so hard it feels like a 9-year-old David Beckham kicked a soccer ball directly into my abdomen! While my daily routine at home was different from what it felt like it should have been, it didn’t mean I had lost who I was. I needed space – apparently a distance as wide as that between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo – to see it.
I do feel grateful I got to go on the cruise last week, but it’s a mindful struggle to remind myself I didn’t fail. It’s a struggle that apparently requires outside assistance: “Dad – are you sure it wasn’t a failure? I mean, I didn’t have the right amount of fun! It didn’t meet my expectations!”
We are told we have to like to travel, that everyone wants to travel. That we should be grateful. Well, Jeneration Why, travel IS a revelation, but it’s also a crapshoot. Maybe we don’t always have to go so far from home to cultivate a new perspective. Or to “fit in.”
“You’re a borderline compulsive liar.”
The words I heard last night whilst texting with the person I have been thinking of for months. The first words I thought of when I woke up this morning.
Somewhat out of the blue, the guy I dated over the summer – the one I thought I was in love with, texted me last night, willing to engage in more than the pleasantries we had awkwardly exchanged over the past few months. Somehow (doesn’t this always happen?), we got on the subject of singlehood. And loneliness. I mentioned that married couples could be lonely and bored too.
His response: “You’re married now, eh?”
“Yes! 15 days!” I responded, and I followed-up with a pic of my unadorned left hand indicating I was, in fact, not married.
What I got from his subsequent texts: this, among other similar behavior, makes me somewhat of a liar. It’s not intentional lying – and I’m not trying to hurt anyone, but I am exhausting. He has to decipher everything I say, figuring out if it’s a trick or a joke. Ultimately, he said I operate with “too much sarcasm/opposite/dry humor.”
I was floored. The texts were so jarring I felt like I was talking with a completely different human being. An all-out angry one. This was not the charming, kind person I had met in May. This was not the guy who brought me flowers and a Bluetooth, because he was concerned about me driving without one. What IN THE HECK happened?
I have an index card with an affirmation/inspirational quote on my wall. In my faded handwriting, it reads: “We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for.”
There really is no ultimate answer as to “why” he and I expected what we expected from the other, but we did have expectations, and because of them, we conjured up two completely different people from the ones we actually are. Perhaps because of his past and nature, he expected that I would let him down. That I would act erratically. He reacted accordingly, viewing my texts through those filtered glasses. I did the same – putting on my he-is-charming glasses, assuming I did something wrong when he said things contrary to his always-charming nature. And I assumed or even expected that I wasn’t enough.
I don’t believe I am a compulsive liar, and I’m not sure there is anything I can say or do that will change his mind. I don’t think he is a bad person – he’s an individual, like the rest of us, doing the best with what he has. But I am too, and what I do with the knowledge of how I expect I am (wrong, good, bad, doing my best) and how I treat myself from here on out, is up to me.