And here I am, once again, sitting on a plane that whizzes me back to LA. And since early yesterday, I’ve been feeling what I call “Re-Entry Anxiety,” the phenomenon where all my heat shields burn off as I re-enter the atmosphere of my “real life” again, the one where my Buddy no longer lives, no longer breathes.
This is my reality.
And this plane feels like I’m onboard destiny, one carrying me swiftly to places I do not want to go, places I’ve been wonderfully, and successfully, avoiding these past few weeks.
Yes, folks, I’ve been majorly playing hooky.
Hook·y ˈho͝okē/ Noun: Stay away from school or work without permission or explanation.
And not just a little bit, but on a big scale (for me) – letting my emails back up, not returning phone calls, not updating people, and OMG, truly letting it the world go.
And despite my type-A personality, I’ve gone with it. Gone with it…and as far as the backed-up responsibilities – I couldn’t have cared less! (Well, not completely; I have made some lame attempts at keeping my “real world” together by doing things, like, I paid my cell phone bill before it got cut off).
I justified playing hooky by telling myself that after an emotionally taxing trip Washington DC to lobby for the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act-so-that-we-can-help-all-the-people-out-there-who-are-fighting-this-illness,-some-with-their-dying-breath, I felt like I needed a break. To breathe… And so I accepted an invitation to Boston to eat great dinners, visit beautiful, picturesque Cape Cod, hear music, and wake up with the vast and beautiful Atlantic Ocean laid out before me. And you know what? It wasn’t all that long before I decided – I’m going in. And I slithered into the warm water to float, turn, swim, and bask in the glistening water. It’d been a long time since I’d been in the ocean. And for me, it was a highlight I knew would be hard to beat.
And all these wonderful things – made it hard to think about going back home. Really hard… My flight back was looming close, too close, when…
Out of the blue, one of my widow friends called to say she’s coming into NY, and would love to have company! Oh, man! I changed my reservation, and when we landed in NY, we shopped the sales, took a sunset cruise north on the Hudson River and threw flowers into the water for our loved ones, and on the 4th of July, had a truly amazing time as we sailed out into the harbor and back on to the Hudson to watch fireworks. Unforgettable! My friend and I vowed to make this an annual event!
And after getting to know the Saks 5th Avenue store sales very well (probably too well, but I’ll worry about that later), hearing great music, and lighting up at cigar over a cocktail in a posh bar, I begin to pack…
And again, I started to feel…
Re-Entry Anxiety. And tears of anticipatory pain sprang into my eyes.
When I called my mom to check in, I didn’t mention the tears, but I did say, “Yeah, I’m going back to my ‘Real Life’.”
“Are you sure you want to do that?” she asked.
I stopped. “What do you mean?”
“Well,” she said, “I’m just asking, ‘Why would you want to do that?’” She continued, “For instance, I just ran up my credit card, and I could worry about it, or I can just…. not.”
I laughed. I mean, sure, I’m bracing myself for my credit card bill after this trip, but what she’s saying has a deeper meaning for me.
Why do I have to go back to my old life?
Why do I have to land back home, and have pain? Suffer?
In a lot of ways, I know I don’t have a choice. But in some ways, some very significant ways, I do.
And so, as the flight starts its decent into LAX, I am entertaining the thought that I will not return to my “real life,” as I’ve known it. Maybe I can enter into a new life, where I celebrate being here on this earth with all its warts and challenges, where I can love my husband and be grateful, and good things can still happen.
And so, on this trip back to LA…. Perhaps I’ll touch down on land, instead of being plunged into a vast, dark, and lonely ocean!
I’ll just stay open to this thought. I’ll see how it goes.