When you go somewhere to try to run away from your life, it’s called a fool’s vacation because you end up taking yourself with you.
I’ve been on two this year. The first was to Spain where I was certain that the blue of the Mediterranean would wash away the grey of my life. It turned out that the grey and I were inseparable.
I am currently on the second. I have come to L.A. to reconnect with old friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in over a decade, and to visit as many museums as is humanly possible in a ten day period. I am here to steep myself in art and love. And I have come prepared this time. I have come without expectation that I can escape my problems. I have brought my worries and my anxieties along as traveling companions. I talk to them all day long. Mostly they try to convince me that my life is over and I tell them to kindly keep their opinions to themselves. Rinse. Repeat.
In times of difficult transition, at least for me, fear and uncertainty prevail. I cannot think of a single morning in the last year and a half that I was not awakened by terror. My poor body thinks I am under siege. The tricky part about fear is that it narrows your vision until you are looking at the world through a straw. And the more you rail against it, the smaller the straw becomes.
So this is new for me, this acceptance of the fear and uncertainty. For the first time, I’m not trying to make them go away. I’m taking notice of other things around them, like the fact that there is a ten block stretch near where I’m staying where you can convert to Hare Krishna, hold a boa constrictor, listen to someone playing the didgeridoo and buy reasonably priced sunglasses. Like the fact that there are plants on earth that look like this:
The more I bring these things into the foreground of my perception, the more the fear and uncertainty are pushed to the periphery. They’re still there, but I’m no longer looking at the world through a straw. I am able to see that there is an entire universe of possibility outside of the heartbreaking logistical tangle waiting for me at home. There is more to life beyond dividing bank accounts and taking things apart and phone calls with the Separation & Divorce department of my auto insurance company. (Yes, my auto insurance company has a Separation & Divorce division. Maybe yours does too. You’d never find out unless you were separated or divorced.)
I am still frightened about the future. But I am beginning to see that the future is much more vast than I can imagine.Back to Writing Index