28 April 2013

What we leave behind

New Orleans beckons, our date to board the Grande Caribe Wednesday, May 1st.  Our departure has been calculated to give us an extra night on the road for a visit with friends near Mobile, a visit we’ve been talking about and promising – them and ourselves – for some eight years.

The water to the washing machine is off; the thermostats, switched to cool, are set at 82 degrees; the irrigation should run each Saturday we’re away; the refrigerator’s nearly empty; Tal took Belle to the vet yesterday (sweet girl who did NOT want to be left).  Should we not get home, we won’t be embarrassed.
How ludicrous is that?!?  An amazing thought ... How could we be – embarrassed, if we don’t get home?  If we don’t ever return, would we even know what people (our family and friends, no less) would be saying about us?  And, who in the world cares?  “Tisk, tisk.  Cluck, cluck.  How could they?”  Should the end come to pass, I won’t be there to hear it.
I do obsess over leaving the place in “dying order.”  While it might not be true for anyone else, it’s a learned behavior for me.  And, mind you, it’s not without its benefits.  Beyond the not dying part, there is a wonderful pleasure that comes out of the compulsion: a clean, orderly reentry.  That’s a pretty decent tradeoff for all the work, I’d say.
And, besides the not dying thing, I also struggle with the potential problem of not packing some vital item.  Admittedly, almost anything we might forget can be procured along the way or done without.  But, the angst of having to scramble at the last minute for hair goop or a prescription is such a confrontational pain.  It represents that most ultimate humiliation: having to admit a mistake.  Oh, perish that particular thought.
So far, so good.  We left home smoothly and I’ve not had any of those semi-sickening moments, like fearing the iron being left on or having forgotten a boarding pass.  The wonderful truth?  I enjoyed preparing our home for a long absence.  Everything I cleaned or put away was something I took a moment to appreciate; everything I placed in the suitcase was something I looked forward to using.

I am concluding that it’s ALL about attitude.  I can live in fear of being judged, of what someone might think.  Or I can revel in the life I am living.  I can dread the moment of uncertainty or I can embrace every moment as it comes.  A pretty simple either-or.
If I leave anything behind on this trip, I so want it to be the weight of that anticipatory judgment.  It’s simply not necessary to life; it's a terrible waste of time.  It limits who I am and everything I can become.  Even at the age of nearly 60 it stunts who and what I can become.  I am envisioning it – that big, mean-spirited not good enough view -- left behind on this trip and maybe, just maybe,  on the remainder of the journey that my life is. 
Joy versus judgment.  I’ll end up doing precisely the same thing no matter which attitude I choose.  I'll aways try to leave the house clean and not to forget anything not matter what.   But, one way will be so much more pleasant than the other.  

Leave it behind, girl.  Let it go.
Although we travelled from home to Valley AL in fair weather, the skies did darken rather dramatically once we were settled in for the late afternoon and evening.  I stood in the parking lot and waited for the entire disk to reveal itself.