Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A look back.....

So I mentioned I was on this journey to discover more about myself.... Well, in the last year, i have plain and simple wore myself out. I did this by going, and doing, and seeing, and trying to learn more, and be everywhere.... The only way I can really look back is to break it down and ask myself four little question. One, where exactly did i go this past year? Two, why did I go to these places? Three, What did i learn from all this wandering about? Finally, four, Do I plan to do it again? I have thought about these questions and my answers have surprised even me.....

Where did I go?

Well I suppose it started in January when I went to South Beach in Miami Florida. Casey, Trisha, and myself went for 5 days and four nights into the heart of upper scale South Beach area. Party central for the stars and the like. Very beautiful and posh hotels, fine dining, guest list only bars, three thousand dollar bottles of champagne, super model looks, tans, and the land of fake boobs. We drank, we were merry, we sat on the beach, got poisoned by something we ate, shopped (at virtually the same stores we have here), and slept very little. We met many people.... a lot of Cuban descendants (and tried to converse in the little spanish I know), men who wanted to buy us expensive drinks to show off their money, or men who simply wanted to get naked and take us back to their hotel rooms. We played in the ocean at 3:30 in the morning while the east coast wind raced through our hair. We made sand angels in the darkness of the night and giggled until we peed our pants.....

Then in February, March, and April I ventured to work in Iowa City part time as a waitress. Came to know many younger and more carefree people and found myself staying the night there one to two times a week. Playing trivia at the Deadwood, Chillin' with Joe and Maggie at the Hill Top, and spending many fun party filled nights (Mardi Gras, Naked party, my birthday) at Joe and Matt's Bachelor pad.

May came time for SummerCamp 2007. Chillicothe in IL at this wooded farm for 4 days and three nights of camping and seeing more jam bands then I honestly care to remember. I rained and it was hot. I was surrounded by various sorts of people from Hippie spunky peeps looking for the next great drug to earth friendly coexisting families enjoying the music and nature. Casey and I stuck it out until the last night and then drug our tired and smelly selves home to the most inviting shower I have ever taken.

June came time for Bonnaroo. Casey and I stayed awake for 36 hours to drive through the night and set up camp on a 700 acre cow pasture in Manchester Tennessee. Beautiful state by the way! We had a great close spot and met with some friends there. Close to 180,000 people all camping elbow to elbow, again to enjoy the music, the drugs, the campanionship, the heat, and the atmosphere. It was dusty and dirty but it was worth the money for the amount of bands, DJ's, comedians, eco-friendly education, and attitudes we all were able to enjoy and learn from.

August came time for Lollapalooza with Andy. Different type of music festival in Chicago, where you can stay in an upscale hotel, walk to the area, and still enjoy the city night life if you had energy left after the day in the blistering august sun watching bands. This was a different crowd though.... not there for the drugs but the alcohol (which is not smart in the heat) and then more alcohol at night.

August again, I went to Chicago to visit with Dave for some much needed me time.... well that's not how it happened but we did paint the town red three nights in a row and I met many interesting gay men who schooled me on many things I did not know about another lifestyle choice.Finally in November, John and I ventured to Chicago once again to see a few more bands, Feist and Menomena, enjoy good food, shopping on State Street, and each others company for 4 days and 3 nights.

Why did I go?
Hmmmm.... at first I thought I would learn a lot about myself if I went and did everything I wanted to do, saw things I had never seen, and experienced such a wide variety of people that I would normally never meet here in the midwest. I wanted to have fun and from Ryan's death i had a mind frame that I needed to do this in case my time here on earth was short and say I would die before I was able to accomplish things I felt I needed to see before it all ended. I felt it was important to have this time to myself. That I needed "me" time because everyone needs time away from the stress and troubles of everyday life.

What did I learn?

This is the part that blows my mind a bit.... the things I learned were not the things I intended on learning.....

I learned that there is such a thing as doing too much, way too fast. I was too busy and too wrapped up in accomplishing so much that I forgot to sit back and enjoy exactly what I was doing and how it made me feel. Instead I found myself frequently cranky and tired and running out of patience with the people I loved enough to ask to spend this time with me. Life was go, go, go and it was a race to get there, see all I could see, and get home. Granted many of these things were meant to be go, go, go oriented but packing them all into one year is too much, period.

I learned that this shit is expensive! I need to watch how and where I spend money in the future and not worry about staying at the best hotel or shopping in the finest shops or eating at the finest restaurants. I will go much farther in life and enjoy more if I actually PAY ATTENTION to the bottom line....

I learned that when you go to places that are packed with people and fun and activities from one morning until the next, you won't learn anything about yourself. Sure, you learn things you like and dislike but I learned absolutely nothing while I was at all these places about me, my inside self. I learned nothing about what I want to be, who i want to be, or what I even really enjoy about myself. Soul searching can not possibly be accomplished when you are surrounded by thousands of people listening to great music. Soul searching is not productive when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or just plain sun fried. I do believe you can have striking thoughts during these times but it takes further thought and reflection to really come to a conclusion on one aspect of yourself.

I learned that you can enjoy these places if you go with the idea that you ARE going to be busy and it is about the fun and music and good times, but that's it. You can't do what I was doing and thinking you would honestly find something while doing other things.
I learned that I was running away. I was running away from the stress that was put on me with no warning or with out much of a reason. When the children would make me feel stressed I would plan a trip. If my friendships were estranged, i would go somewhere else and make new friends. I don't think i realized this one until just now. People ask me how I deal with what happened to me in this life and I have always said I was fine and I could handle anything. But can I? Or do i take little vacations to forget the bad things that have happened and try to run somewhere where no one knows me or knows what has happened.
I learned that my children need me here. I was running away from the three most important little men in my life. My one and only reason for waking up each morning and getting out of bed when i really don't want to. I have opened my eyes and realized that they need me. That their behavior issues and sicknesses are probably in part to my being gone and wrapped up in myself. I can learn more about myself watching them play and conversing in simple ways then I can out doing what I felt needed to be done.

I learned that I can learn more about myself sitting here, at home thinking and writing on this blog then i can anywhere else.

Do I plan on doing it again?
You know I can't say i won't want to venture out and enjoy a good music festival again. I love to have fun and be surrounded by people. Interaction is one of my most desired drugs in life. However i will space things out, and plan more simply, and maybe even consider taking the boys with me.... after all, they would enjoy probably MORE then i would. I may even venture to other places.... Places that I haven't seen and would love to go... places where I can spend time in quiet, thinking, and places I can spend time with the people I love, instead of a whole bunch of strangers.....


Tiffany said...

I must say're an amazing woman. You have been as long as I have known you! I'm impressed with your insight of the situation as you looked back, but remember, you live, you learn. Don't ever get down on yourself for it because you did what you did and made life progress from it! Getting out somewhere different with your children will be a great experience, you'll learn more about yourself through them than you ever thought possible. As a matter of fact, maybe you and I could take the time to plan a trip, just us girls and the kids. Yellowstone, the Rockeys, the Alamo, the beach. Something...I know I could use that time too! Let me know! Love ya chick! Always will!

3 moons and the sea said...

Beautiful post Dana. I look forward to watching you thing I have always loved about you is your openness-your willingness to admit your faults, share your vulnerabilities, or just rant and not give a damn! :) Love ya, Nina

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

I really find blogging to be very therapeutic. To focus on the good things that I want to remember, the silly little things boys do on a daily basis that would just get forgotten otherwise, and to hold myself accountable for the things I want to change in myself. It is amazing how putting something down in a blog helps keep me focused on accomplishing it.

It sounds like you did and learned a lot this past year... and now you know what you want. 2008 is going to be an outstanding year for you and your boys because you learned so much in 2007.

I look forward to reading more. Keep blogging!