I’m starting to turn back into myself. It is an odd feeling, but far less disturbing than how I’ve felt for the last several weeks. That feeling–a numb emptiness–was even more unsettling. And I know that lots of people get depressed after a trip, especially a long trip. But I didn’t expect to feel that way because, well, I didn’t have a good time on said trip. What I did not take into account was the hole that I unknowingly ripped in my life–and that hole is taking a long time to fill.
You see, I spent hours every single day planning that trip–from the first of the year until we boarded the plane in July. To do this, I stopped doing a lot of other things I’d previously loved. I stopped doing home improvements, which was something I’d previously spent a lot of time, energy, and money on because, well, I didn’t have the time, energy, or (especially) money. Every single extra cent was going into a vase, earmarked for Europe. I stopped planning small weekend trips for the same reason. I stopped cooking beautiful meals half because I spent hours each night on this computer trip planning and then blogging about it, and half because I was trying to reduce my grocery bill–it doesn’t take much time or creativity to grill a piece of chicken and pick some lettuce. I stopped reading my favorite kind of fiction–young adult–because I stopped reading fiction entirely. My desk was filled with travel books; I even read them during SSR time in my own classroom. I changed so many things about myself and my life, all so I could put every bit of energy and money toward The Trip. I feel like I (sort of) now know how parents feel the day their child goes off to college. It’s like–’now what?’
Fortunately I was able to spend the day ‘getting my groove back’ (for lack of a much better term!) A book I’ve been looking forward to for months came out today, so I went to the bookstore first thing this morning to pick it up. I didn’t get to spend as much time reading it as I would have liked, but I did have at least an hour of quality time on the back porch with said book. And while we did have a very low-maintenance dinner–grilled chicken and salad again–I did spend a bit of time on two of my favorite websites (tripadvisor and priceline) pricing hotels for an upcoming weekend in D.C. (for the National Book Festival–I bask in my nerd glory!)
So, slowly and with much help from fictional heroine Katniss Everdeen and a Captain Kirk sponsored website, I am becoming Tracy again. Hopefully she will be in her beautiful-meal-making glory before Labor Day weekend, when many people are coming to her house to eat. And hopefully, by then, she will stop talking about herself in the third person.