This past weekend of fantastic and wonderful adventures was exactly what I needed right now. While I mostly just felt that I needed a break from my life, my job, my apartment, and from facing the end of a friendship that meant everything to me, I also very much wanted to go out and spend time with people who matter to me.
This trip was perfect in every way imaginable.
My flight arrived rather late and the drive from the airport to the house was filled with a lot of the conversations I had with strangers. The roads were covered in snow and more was falling. It was a slow drive, but rather pretty. I hadn’t been in a situation with so much snow in quite some time and it was a novel experience. The drive was safe, but slow and the guest room for me was also the room of books. So many wonderful, glorious bookshelves filled with a plethora of books. It’d been a long and emotionally unpleasant day so I eagerly crawled into the delightful bed and even found that my hosts had thoughtfully placed an electric blanket on my bed. I dislike being cold and that was rather fantastic.
We woke up and got ready for the day’s adventures and then headed out into the world of Hoth for a delicious and fantastic breakfast. We had a window seat where we were able to watch the fluffed up birds play in the snow and a tiny, red-brown squirrel eat food from the bird feeder. With the fireplace right behind me, a giant mug of hot chocolate, a delicious breakfast sandwich, and the best company a person could ask for, the meal was an auspicious beginning to the rest of the day. We spoke of books and writing; we spoke of life and pain; we spoke of jobs and the personal costs of occupations like mine; we spoke of adventures, beginnings, middles, and ends.
The conversation continued as we drove through the snow-covered country of Hoth. Away from the bustle of cities and the press of people, the drive provided a sense of forward momentum and serenity that I had been lacking in the current circumstances of my life. My life back where I live might be totally screwed up in every sense, but the time, space, distance, and companionship of a great person eased the pain in my heart.
We hoped that by going to the water park early in the day that all the skiers would be out enjoying the fresh snow, especially since it was a Friday and most people should be in school or at work. As it turns out, we were correct. The water park was glorious. It was the perfect temperature to wander around in our swimsuits and stare out at the snow-covered world outside the giant windows and skylights. We tried every ride and every water slide. We spent huge amounts of time floating around the lazy river on the inner tubes we procured and then claimed for the duration of our adventures. We Watched the snow cascade off the skylights in sheets like an avalanche, the huge crashing sound unique as only that amount of snow falling and crashing could be. Conversations of philosophy and love interspersed tales of adrenaline while soaking in the hot tub. We tested our courage against a water slide that required an actual launch tube where the bottom drops out. After several hours, there was a break for a tasty snack and splitting a giant chocolate chip cookie. Eventually, we reached the point of saturation with our water park adventure and headed back to the house where we picked up the third member of our party and moved to the downtown area for a delicious dinner of flatbread pizza.
While at dinner, I ordered tea to go with my pizza and it turned out to be a fantastic blend of flavors. The sun-dried tomato on the pizza mixed nicely with the tea I chose from the bin and I enjoyed the mix of flavors greatly. As I spoke of my fascination with the mixing of flavors from my drink and my food, we decided to walk down to the cupcake place after dinner because it was Friday and on Fridays, the cupcake shop offers a wine tasting and treat night. We finished our dinner and took the box with the leftovers and then walked through the streets with remnants of Christmas lights to the cupcake store where I then participated in my first ever wine tasting. The idea of the wine tasting is that the cupcake store prepares three shots and three treats. You are supposed to eat and drink the combinations in order to properly appreciate the flavor. There was a decadent chocolate brownie, a mixed-flavor cupcake, and a cream treat that needed to be eaten with a spoon. As for the alcohol, I think there was some Bailey’s Irish Cream, some Guinness, and something thick that looked very chocolatey. It was a marvelous experience and something new that I had never done and never thought to do.
Saturday’s experience involved facing my fears, my weaknesses, and my pride. We went to the climbing gym to give me a chance to get back on the wall. Before I left on my most recent research trip and subsequently broke my ankle, I had managed to climb walls of 5.9 and even one 5.10. I swallowed my pride and started my climbing experience with a 5.4 and didn’t try anything above a 5.6 during our time at the gym. I managed to get over two overhangs, which are generally parts of the wall that I am very not good at and I allowed myself to feel pride for my accomplishments instead of frustration at my failures. It felt good to climb again, though I reached a point on the last wall I did where I forgot that my ankle was not quite healed and there was a loud cracking sound. I made it to the top of that wall and then was smart enough to realize that I’d met my limit for the day. The old me would have kept going through the pain, but that isn’t me anymore. Now, I actually care about me and I’m doing a pretty good job of taking care of myself. We ended our time at the wall sooner than I would have hoped, but I was still happy and satisfied that I had been able to climb at all.
Our next stop was a tea shop. We were lucky in that one of the classic tea experience sections just opened when we arrived. We spent several hours sitting on cushions on the platform, talking about love and heartache and moving forward. I ordered chai and we shared a vegetable platter with pita bread and humus. The conversation and the atmosphere was the most amazing and perfect day I’ve had in such a long time that it eased the burden on my soul. We discussed the future and the impact my current occupational choices could have on those around me. We talked about the maelstrom that’s consumed my life to this point. We listened with amusement at the pretentious conversations of those who are young and inexperienced in life.
This trip was everything my heart and soul needed. Adventure and quiet, energy and peace. I am recharged and better prepared to face the pain of heartache and perhaps actually go through the true grieving process for all that I have lost. I have a new novel that I’m working on and I think it’s the novel that I need to be writing right now. I’m excited to write it, and I’m excited to start living my life again. There are so many adventures that I want to have, so many places I want to go, so many things I want to see and experience. And it’s time for me to start doing all of them. While I am thankful for all the time that I was given with someone who matters to me more than anyone ever has, having only one person to focus on is destructive to both of us. I still hope and dream of sharing my life, but I have to have a life before I can properly share it. To live is to have life.
The pain in my heart is still there, and will likely be there forever or until things get worked out, but maybe it’s not quite so raw and jagged now. Maybe I can keep the maelstrom I’ve had around me for so long dissipated. I will let go of the storm and no longer allow myself to be the eye of a storm of destruction of that magnitude. So many people have been standing outside the storm, trying to shout and be heard over the fierce and unrelenting winds, but I couldn’t see or hear them because I allowed the storm to control my life. I know that dispersing the storm and letting people close to me is going to hurt. I know that I will care even more and that there will be more mistakes in the future. I am taking charge of my life. That storm will never run my life again. While I know that there will still be days when things will go wrong and the storm will flare, I will not allow it to dictate my life. It would be so much easier to make the storm stronger and block out the hurt and pain, but that can’t be my life anymore. I won’t let it be my life anymore.
This is my life. Sometimes things will go wrong, but that’s all a matter of perspective. Mistakes are times to learn. Failure is time to grow. I refuse to stop caring. I refuse to stop believing in hope and love. Because love taught me more than the maelstrom ever did. Love is worth it. People are worth it. Friends are worth it. YOU are worth it.
And so am I 🙂