I’m currently cruising at 36,000 feet above Chicago on my way back home after vacation. What on earth did we do before Go-Go In-flight Wireless? Probably read bodice-ripping novels like I read on the flight from Las Vegas to O’Hare.
I am sitting in the front row, single seat aisle of this tiny plane, and we’re passing by the Chicago skyline and quickly making our way back to the land of sweet tea and, well, my job and home. It excited me to pass by the Sear’s Tower (or whatever they’re renamed it) and the other tall buildings. I heaved a heavy sigh and drank in the dusky-skyline.
You see, when I first began traveling alone, it was exciting. A novelty. Look at me, all grown-up and in-charge of myself. I can navigate my way through airport security with (little) problem, find my own gates, and get myself to the plane. I can navigate airports, cram my own bags in the overhead storage, or use that as my opening line to whatever attractive gentleman I set my sights on (Can you help me lift this bag overhead?). Beyond that, I could get myself to the hotel, have a great time on vacation, and enjoy the solitude on the trip home. And for my solo car trips, I reveled in the fact that only I controlled the radio, the temperature of the car, and just how often (or not often) we stopped to pee. If I want to stop and see the world’s largest ball of twine, I can do just that. It’s all me!
What a fool I was. I was proud to pee at will?
Don’t get me wrong; I still love the independence. I love that I am independent enough now to do these things for myself. I love the silence, the quiet, the serenity of traveling alone–especially on flights. I feel proud that I am brave enough to do these things without the prodding of someone else. There was a time when I was afraid to fly alone, unable to get myself to and from simple locations without the encouragement of another human being. Hell, there was a time that I didn’t drive myself to work. And now I’m taking myself thousands of miles from home. What a difference three years makes!
But on this trip, and to some extent on my cruise in September, I really felt a void. At first I thought I was just anxious from being out of my typical routine, from leaving work for a week, from whatever. But then I slowly began to realize that I just missed having someone on vacation with me. Sure, I was with friends and my cousin, but I missed having that person that knows me intimately. NO, not that intimate. Just someone who shares the quiet moments, the inside jokes of vacation. Someone that can do what I want to do or has something they want to do. I wanted someone to shoot craps and have me at their side cheering and blowing the dice for luck. I wanted to go to a restaurant and have a plus one. I wanted to wake up next to someone and plan our day. And instead I was drinking daiquiris and making eyes with a guy at the blackjack table in the Monte Carlo. And waking up alone. And planning my day. And seeing Carrot Top without someone who wanted to indulge a ridiculous whim of mine. (Carrot Top was, incidentally, freaking hilarious).
It’s a catch-22 and I realize this. I wouldn’t be going on lavish vacations at the invitation of my cousin if I had a boyfriend or husband. I am invited precisely because I am independent, able, and willing to spend the time and funds to do these things. I can vacation for seven days in the Caribbean without worry or obligation. I can fly to Vegas and throw down some beer in a piano bar. So if I had someone to share these things with, I probably wouldn’t be getting as many invitations. Well, I might, but I’d be paying my own way and going far, far less. I am this independent and new creature because of my single lifestyle. Most of the time I am overjoyed with the freedoms I have been afforded. And as we all know, the thought of actually being with someone has been known to make me sick to my stomach.
But maybe I’ve had enough of it. It’s been three years. I think that I am finally ready to test the waters and see if this independent and free and open person that I have become can stand the test of a relationship. Surely to God the two can’t be mutually exclusive, right?
I think I’ll just take it as a good sign that I even wanted someone with me this vacation. The last three years haven’t provided me with that many moments that made me actually long for a boyfriend or companion. Maybe my mind can finally wrap around the idea of loving another person and sharing a part of myself with them. All this time I thought I was ready..