Sense of Self
I had mentioned something about taking small trips this year after we had our two big vacations of the year by the end of April. I was talking about the family as a whole - but he had another idea brewing.
"How about you go to Chicago and see Hamilton with your friend?"
My gut reaction was, what a nice idea. In all honesty, I never thought it would actually happen. My thoughts went to how we seem to have plans every weekend, how I am still nursing Clara, and I would feel guilty for leaving Aaron and the girls for a whole weekend - it seemed so selfish.
He had some very compelling arguments. We had enough frequent flyer miles for my plane ticket to be free. There were certain connections my friend had for discounted tickets to the show. I would be able to not only visit my longtime friend but also my brother and his family.
Under the encouragement (and urging) from my husband, I texted my friend to see if we could coordinate a weekend that worked for both of us.
I went to work halfheartedly getting schedules lined up. In the back of my mind, I kept expecting the plans to fall through and it would become another plan we would love to do "someday" but we all know is never going to happen.
And then all of a sudden there was a date picked. Not leaving me much time to change my mind, my husband got booked my flights. With no way out (other than forfeiting plane tickets), the solo trip was a go.
As the weekend neared, I started to feel anxious. I was filled with both mom and wife guilt simultaneously and grew anxious. I put off my packing to-do list and found myself throwing clothes in my carry-on the night before my trip. A stark contrast to our most recent trip of packing for a family of four - two of them being small children - and making four pages of checklists. I felt as if I was missing something the entire time.
On my way to Chicago, I encountered a hiccup at the airport. While being held up in the security line I noticed a status screen and saw that my flight had been canceled. a wave of panic came over me. It hadn't occurred to me to check the flight status. I was so consumed with my personal feelings about the trip that I had't thought this was a possibility. I immediately went into action all the while feeling this trip turning into another fantasy. After some finagling, and a hand full of chewed nails, I was on a plane headed to Chicago.
The rest of the weekend couldn't have gone any better. I was able to spend some time with a longtime friend who has been with me through so many of life's ups and downs. Who has known me for nearly 20 years. I fed the part of my identity that often gets neglected in the day to day care of my family and responsibilities. Theater will always be one of the great loves of my life. And, I traveled solo for the first time in about 7 years. I unplugged and was present to the people around me. I felt like myself again.
I was Christi.
Over the last few years the times when I feel like my old self are fewer and fewer. Often I am someone's mother, a wife, an employee, a volunteer, a friend, a homeowner. I do the laundry. Take care of co-workers and friends. Wipe snotty noses, change diapers, and feed small children. I organize, plan, schedule, coordinate our lives. There is so much more to keep track of these days than there was when I was single. It can become overwhelming - and exhausting.
Sometimes it is good to step away from all the responsibilities of life and find yourself again. Give in to something that will make you feel refreshed. Invigorated. Excited.
I am a creative soul. I feed from the creativity I see around me. When I am consumed by the business of life it can stifle the natural creative instincts inside of me.
Today I feel a fresh perspective.
I am so glad I said "yes" when my husband was practically pushing me to take some time for myself.