We leave for Hawaii in a week. A whole week in Maui. Just me and the girls, Grace and her BFF. I need this time. I am tired. I am overwrought. I have also never done this before, spent my money on a vacation like this. Most years, we go on a family vacation with my parents and the dogs. Which are super nice vacations and I am so grateful to have a family that I can and do enjoy spending time with, but a vacation for myself, having really only me to worry about is something new all together.
Now, I know that I am taking two teens with me but I imagine that I will spend a great deal of time alone. They have their own ideas about what the vacation looks like. Most of which involves chasing boys all over Maui. So far I have been able to adjust expectations that they will NOT be running all around Maui with boys they meet. But hope springs eternal when you are fifteen.
I have all the usual worries about leaving home and taking off: work, pets, my parents, house hold stuff. It is hard for me to leave home base, especially since the pandemic. Before COVID, home was just a place I slept, now it is my sanctuary. My retreat and I will admit, I have a hard time leaving it. Really.
I am worried about leaving my parents also. They are both doing better but are not back to normal. My aunt (God Bless her!) is coming from Florida to spell me so that I can even go. She will be staying with my mom and helping with my dad and driving while I am gone. It is hard to leave, even though I know that she is more than capable of helping out. I still feel guilty and a part of me (I won’t say how large a part because my mom reads my blog) feels like I shouldn’t go.
But I will go. And here is why: I need it. I need to get away from this daily life, go somewhere foreign to me and exotic and find out who the hell I am again. I feel so lost of late and while life continues to be amazing, I kind of feel like I am behind thick glass and life is something that is more happening to other people and I am just existing. None of that is actually true, I can see that, but that is how it feels.
I have some big decisions to make in fairly short order and I am a bit paralyzed. I am scared. I am worried. I am, well, lost. Me, who seems to always know what direction to head, caring little to nothing as to whether or not that direction is actually productive, me, I am lost.
I have always been absolutely certain that I know exactly where I am going, and often am dead wrong. However, that has never stopped me from being certain that whatever direction I have set my sights upon is RIGHT! I have historically been absolutely fucking certain about my direction, even when all indicators are flashing RED! And I have always been right, even in all my wrongness.
Before the pandemic, I was supposed to go to Ireland for my 50th birthday. Of course, the world shutting down put the kibosh on that idea. But I have been feeling for the last few years this need to go get lost. To unmoor myself from my routines, my roles, my daily life and just go get lost for a little while. It is truly the only way I know how to find myself again. And this time, I will be dragging two fifteen year olds with me, but that seems almost fitting to me. They don’t know who they are either and they have little clue as to where they are going in this life. And that is exactly how I feel right now.
And for me that is what this upcoming vacation is...a chance to unplug from all that I think I know, all that I do in a day and just be. Let the day flow forward in a gentle direction in a beautiful foreign place. I mean I know Hawaii is not really foreign, but I mean foreign to me. I have been to Maui before but not really spent much time there. I look forward to taking the road to Hana again, disappearing into the countryside and seeing what I can find that is not touristy or commonly seen. I crave the undiscovered, the remote, the unknown.
The older I get, the more I feel the need to disappear. To retreat, to hold myself back from the fray of life and watch it instead. To participate in a manner other than full throttle. I need a lost vacation, a place where I get off the beaten path and find myself again. My life is changing quickly lately, lots of changes with my parents, my kids, my internal landscape. All these things that have suited me for a long time, no longer fit and I am not sure what to do with them anymore. Not sure at all.
So I know that I need to be still and allow time to etch a new pathway in my heart and mind. And that can only come from trailing winds on long paths to the ocean. To tropical sands on beautiful beaches in remote areas that are not frequently traveled or known about. I know that I will spend not that much time in these places due to the teens needing to be where the action is, but I will find time to retreat into a place that is quiet, serene and uninhabited. My soul needs these places, because there are these places in my own internal landscape that is untouched, not well traveled and currently unknown to me.
Lost vacation is what I need right now. Time to just not know anything. Where to go, what to do, who I am. Allow for all of that to be up for grabs. I do not need anything but my bathing suit, flips flops, my laptop and a book. These are the tools to help me access those places within me that have become overgrown or unexamined or never discovered in the first place. Lost vacation is a means for finding out who I am right now. Because sometimes, I have to get a little lost, maybe a lot lost in order to be able to see something new in all of the old that exists with me daily. I need to be new to me. I need to see myself from a different perspective, one that is still healing wounds from the past, while I learn new things, like how can I love myself and others more.
So I retreat to Hawaii to become so lost, that I am found again. Some new version of myself that is more connected to the earth and sky. I mean wherever you go there you are...but sometimes, if you are really lucky, you take a chance, take a break from all you think you know and find that life is really quite amazing. And the internal life you lead, the only true solace there is in this world. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to admit the degree of lostness you feel, that this is a prerequisite to ever being found. Paradise lost, paradise found. Whether it be on a tropical isle, or inside your own skin, the journey is the same.