Traveling makes me nervous. Leading up to the day of departure I stress over what could happen to me and wether or not I am prepared for the fight. Nothing that dramatic has ever happened. The reality of my travel terrors have only amounted to delays and the occasional train that completely breaks down on the tracks. It didn’t help my anxiety that we were suspended over the west side highway in Manhattan when that very thing happened one dreadful day and we had to step off the train and board another train that had pulled in alongside us to help. I heard the train conductor announce that everything was being taken care of and I accepted the train workers hand as I stepped off our train and onto the tracks suspended over Fairway, but just in case this was some sort of conspiracy I had gotten myself into, I was counting every third track like a motherfucker until I was back on board the train.
I have noticed one thing consistently whenever I take a trip, and that’s how quickly that light in me fades the closer I get to home. As much as I complain and fret and second guess my plans, I return home like some captured fugitive. Those hand cuffs securing my wrist might as well be on my entire body. Walking through my door, I immediately feel burdened, suppressed, and confined. Ten years ago, my apartment was cozy. Now, two kids, and a sister who came over to visit eight years ago, cozy is suffocating the hell out of me.
I want out. I want wilderness and room to roam. I am parked in the entanglement of middle age. The kids, not so small anymore are no longer enticed by a simply distraction like a ball. They’re older now, bigger, with an appetite of entitlement and skilled in the English language to hurl back at me the angry insults I have stuck in my teeth.
My mother contributes with “I told you so.” I told you raising children was hard and if you wanted to have the slightest chance at getting it right, you were going to have to change your life. Yes, I remember but you didn’t say I would have to give up my life. You didn’t say I couldn’t dream anymore or want anymore. Why didn’t you say that? Her eyeballs roll like balls on a pool table that I want to smack into each pocket so bad my body trembles with delight.
Nobody saves you in middle age. If you can’t swim or drive or read directions in code, oh well, the universe seems to say, I sure hate it for you. So if you’re anything like me, you knock some sense into your head by running full speed into that same wall that keeps telling you it’s time to move, that no amount of pretty decorations is going to give you what you need and what you need is space.
Space not only to stretch out at night when my shoulder is screaming for some relief from the weight of my body, but also space as in take up more space in this world. Occupy just a little more in order to make a greater contribution. Small may have been who and what I was growing up, moving to Hollywood at seventeen and living in a hotel room behind Hollywood Blvd. Yes it was as frightening as you think. It may have been the direct result of sexual abuse or the end result of growing up fatherless, but small is only serving to shrink my life and causing me to die full of dreams.
Today I am in a happy place, along the blue waters of Providence, Rhode Island. This is grazing territory for me. I’m here to spend a Family week with my kids at camp. This is real camp with no cell phones, no televisions; only families, conversations and an open night sky. It’s taking me back to memories of Fourth of July fireworks in Maine, when I was not navigating my own life and life just unfolded from one day to the next with misfortune at the wheel. I’ve seen all I need to see of that town.
I have some decisions to make and maybe some circumstances I might have to accept for right now. What’s helpful, is I know where I want to end up so I can direct my focus there. I read that for up to 80% of the time, planes fly off course, but because they final destination is programmed into their flight system, the plane eventually finds its way.
I’m steering toward happiness. I’ve been off course most off my life so I should be close to finding my way. I hope to get there soon. I want to enjoy my life. 80% is a long time to be facing the wrong direction. I wonder what makes the plane turn around? What makes it question its path? What makes you?
For me, it is time. The constant motion of time and where I want to end up when it stops for me. Home is less and less centered around my residence. Home is my experience, my footprint in this world. I’m going to trust my instincts, my faith and my many night time prayers and land soon. 80% of my life is long enough. It’s time to come down on solid land and be in this world happy and fulfilled.
God don’t let me wind up in Florida. I hate the heat.