Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where Did Everybody Go?

I guess I’m going through a bit of the “empty-nest syndrome.” Family members that are in close proximity of me all have things going on that leaves me very much on my own. Oldest daughter, Erin who lives in California is happily reunited with her husband of only six months. Granted, I see Erin only every other month or so, but we were keeping in close cyberspace contact. Now she’s busy working and establishing her new married life. Aiden has gone off to visit his daddy in California for a few weeks, his mom Adrian is on her way to New York, and my husband, John leaves tomorrow for his much anticipated weeklong golf excursion. What am I gonna do with myself? This coming week’s alone time is giving me some food for thought.

Alone does not necessarily mean lonely; I spend a great deal of time in my own company and I enjoy it. Before I got married and had children I was very independent. I traveled and settled myself in numerous locations across the country. When you have a family to care for, however, you become tied to them and one geographic location. Until, that is, they turn into the independent ones. Now I have to contemplate the rebirth of my independent streak and do so without the guilt that comes from leaving those that once depended on me behind.

I often think that if I didn’t have my home, the animals, the kids close by, and oh, yeah, a husband, I would be traipsing around Europe with my backpack or crisscrossing the country in an R.V. I know I could do it without fear of the unknown and it would be full of great adventures. The trouble is I’ve really come to like the company I keep; John and I have a blast when we travel together and my friends and I have made many great memories on our various road trips. Another complication, though, is that work schedules, money, and the obligations of others impede their availability when I am able to travel. So the question is, do I go it alone or sit at home occupying myself in ways that bore me? With my loved ones embarking on their own adventures, I say I need to go it alone. But it’s easier said than done.

It took me over 25-years to find myself rooted to a place and to people, specifically my kids and husband, my home with the plants and trees that need watering, and the pets that need my attention. I’ve established a career that can pretty much travel with me, so that’s not much of an issue. But now I find it increasingly difficult to walk away from the responsibilities that I’ve created for myself. In the past I’ve just packed everything up, and I mean everything: kids, animals, belongings, and set out. Here’s a picture of my 1992 flight from Las Vegas to New York. That van groaned from the weight of its contents - you can’t see it but in addition to the dogs there are two parrots, a turtle, snake and iguana in there!

While I’m not planning on a mass move just yet, and when I do I suspect the spouse will come along, I am considering my summer plans. As I wrote about earlier I planned on taking a cross-country road trip, just me and two of our dogs. I have to rethink that as 1) my husband fears for my life (from bad people, not my driving!) and 2) I have a possible summer project that I will need to attend to near the end of July. A change of travel plans is in order. I’m thinking of flying to Washington D.C. and after exploring the nation’s capital driving myself to Batavia for a reunion with family and friends. I’ll fly back to Vegas after I’ve had my fill of food and western New York humidity and mosquitoes. My issue is that I wish John was with me as I know how much he’d love to visit Washington and New York, and how much we would enjoy creating those memories together. See my quandary?

I love my independence but it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Still, I know that I’ll have a great time on my own and maybe next time I’ll have a traveling companion who is available join me. That is, unless I have too much fun on my own! Stay tuned as I will document my summer adventures along the way.


jessica said...

I remember that van!
Was that the trip where one of the dogs jumped into the Mississippi river and Uncle John had to get him? It was Tiffany wasn't it?

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

This was my solo trip with the girls in 1992 when we moved to Knowlesville Road for that 6 months. The Tiffany-almost-drowning trip was when we moved to NY in 1997. So many memories!