intended consequences

I don’t know who among you reading this will be shocked and who will stand up and yell ABOUT DAMN TIME, WOMAN.

I’ve been facing this decision for some time, and through a multitude of tiny steps I inched my way toward it, nailing it down by unofficial degrees, but never being brave enough to take a step that would commit me fully and financially. I seeded the ground earlier this week, not explaining to my friends what was going on but saying “if I don’t commit by the weekend, beat me senseless.”

I committed. I stared at this screen for several minutes first, though, willing myself to choose. Most of our actions have unintended consequences. This one would be laden with intended consequences.

I stared for a long time at this screen. It took several minutes to click 'Continue booking.'Hesitate. Hesitate again. Click.

I cried when I got to this point, for lots of reasons:

I've tried several times in my life to make a trip like this happen, but it's never worked out. Seeing my name in conjunction with these cities was momentarily overwhelming.Me. There. See also, life list

I am thirty-five years old. I have survived the shittiest eighteen months of my life, and as a result, the entire trajectory of my life has changed. I have never known what my future would hold, but if the past year and a half has taught me anything, it has taught me that if I stop acting like I have a future, I won’t have one.

I write those words as much for myself as for you, the reader, because the past eighteen months have beaten me up on the inside, on the tender and hidden parts of the soul that only one’s closest friends see. They’ve ravaged enough that it’s taken me months to acknowledge this: the only thing that scares me more than doing this trip … is the thought of who I will become if I’m NOT the kind of person who would make this trip.

I’ve chosen.

I choose life list item #7: finally take that decades-delayed trip to London.

I choose life list item item #16: Successfully order beer. In German. In Germany.

I choose to make travel part of my life again. I choose to put my camera gear into my backpack again, and get lost in a strange city. I choose to trust that the world still has amazing experiences for me, if I can be brave enough to go out and find them.

I choose to go to Europe for a month. I’ll start in Munich. If I’m lucky, I’ll arrange for crashspace in northern Germany and eastern France with co-workers. Somewhere in that month, I’ll end up in London. What happens in the space between is yet to be determined, but it is an intended consequence of tonight’s actions.

I fear what people will say. I fear the talk and the gossip of I-can’t-believe-Jeff-isn’t-going and the can-you-believe-she-left-him-at-home. I fear I will be judged a bad wife and a poor caregiver for Jeff. I can’t control the opinions of others, and the fear of those opinions has become my constant companion.

I’m going anyway. Andy Dufresne had a point.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Choose.

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Comments

Anonymous's picture

Good for you. We don’t choose

Good for you. We don’t choose how long we get to be here, but we do get to choose how we spend the time we get. We get to choose who we want to be, one decision at a time. I think you’ll be happier being the person who crossed those items off her life list.

katre's picture

Awesome, I love London but I

Awesome, I love London but I only ever get to go for a few days at a time. Have a blast, relax and recharge, and please take lots of pictures for those of us back in the States!

Anonymous's picture

I’m happy that you’re up to

I’m happy that you’re up to traveling again and look forward to seeing all the wonderful photos you’ll take along the way. Don’t worry what others think of you;as long as you’re living someone will always be judging you (people tend to be that way). If someone hasn’t walked in your shoes, they don’t have the right to say anything about your life. 

Anonymous's picture

I wish I could do the same

I wish I could do the same damned thing, but I’m tethered to where I am by work.  I’m also too scared to go it alone.  I am both jealous and in awe of you Smile

Anonymous's picture

Anyone who would judge you or

Anyone who would judge you or gossip about you for taking this trip by yourself is absolutely someone who Angel doesn’t know you and (b) doesn’t deserve to be graced with your southern drawl and your beautiful smile.That said, I would be thinking the same things, but good for you for tackling a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  What stories you’ll be able to tell!  *hugs*

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