The past few days, I’ve been in a funk, so I executed my social media scorched earth plan (where I suspend Facebook, cancel Twitter, and cull my Instagram account to the three people I might like).
This cascaded to never writing again. Not another word. Not ever.
I moved on. Questioned Paris. Ireland. Travel. I priced real estate in Philadelphia and pictured myself walking a dog, volunteering at the library, becoming a barista at Starbucks.
“Make mine a death spiral.”
Pat watched all this; he didn’t say a word.
A friend once told me that he used a travel guidebook as his therapist.
I’ll drink to that.
When I get in these moods, I do plan trips, and I’ve done a good bit of that lately: Dubrovnik in early October. Budapest last weekend. The vineyards near Vienna this upcoming weekend. Zurich for a week on the heels of Vienna. Barcelona for Thanksgiving.
In the midst of all this, my son sent me a photo of our grandson, Jack, out for brunch in his jammies. But that only made me grouse. When did wearing PJs in public go from “that’s so cute” to “I’m worried about mom”?
Yet it spawned an idea. Jammie day has always been my refuge. Sunday morning, I told Pat, “I’m giving myself one day of nothing. Then, I’m back at it.” (Of course, given our new packing strategy, a ratty T-shirt and running shorts had to suffice)
Things I didn’t do Sunday: take a shower, shave my legs, get dressed, go outside, eat my five-a-day.
Pat met friends for coffee and cake during the afternoon. After dinner he took a long walk, “Do you want to join me?”
I looked up from my reading, “What do you think?”
“Be back in a bit.”
I moved from the couch to the bedroom, laid out my walking gear by the front door, and promised myself—no matter what—I’d return to life tomorrow.
My Fitbit registered 500 steps, but for the life of me, I couldn’t account for them.
All tucked in, I spent an hour watching Bon Jovi videos before falling asleep.
When I woke up, I checked my cell phone and had an email from an old friend. He thanked me for writing my blog, “It’s how I keep track of you. Keep it up!”
It was a sign. It was a kick in the pants.
Pat woke up as I was pulling on my clothes, “I’m going for a walk.” I stood there for a moment, “Aren’t you gonna stop me?”
“Why?” he answered.
Why indeed. One jammie day does not make or break anything. String too many together, and you’ve got Bo Radley.
I walked the loop we call the bridge to bridge: through old town Bratislava, over the Old Bridge (which has recently been replaced and is now the newest bridge), through the city park on the far side of the Danube, and back over the New Bridge (which some call the UFO Bridge). I ended by going up to the castle.
Pat looked up when I came in the door, “How do you feel?”
“Great. Gonna take a quick shower and head to the coffee shop. I’ve got a blog to write.”
He didn’t say a word; he just smiled.
In truth, the fog wasn’t completely gone, but light was peeking through.
At times like this I remind myself, no matter what you do in life, there are days when it all feels wrong. You dislike your job. Your spouse. Your entire family. Your hometown. You feel lonely. Or not alone enough. Those days will come.
That’s why man invented jammies (and wine. I’m pretty sure that the same person who invented jammies also invented wine. Don’t believe me. Google it).
Being a full time traveler is not a ticket to perpetual happiness. If anything, it’s a more stressful way to live.
There’s no better therapy than to shut out the world. Throw a pity party. See if Ted Kaczynski’s cabin has come up for sale. Cancel the trip to Vienna. Plan to eat out more.
When tomorrow comes, take a walk. Take a shower. Remind yourself that the fog always clears; the sun always returns; the pity party has to end eventually.
Pull on your clothes and head back out into that great big beautiful world.