Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We're leaving on a trip; why am I depressed?

We're counting down the days we when we leave for Spain and North Africa. Doing all the little errands, paying off the Amex so we can put more on it for more frequent flier miles for future trips, buying presents for the people we'll be meeting for the first time, putting finishing touches on our itinerary, which basically amounts to when do we leave Spain for North Africa; Sue and I are very loose.

There's something about traveling, in the leaving, that makes me a bit sad, though. I've noticed it all my life, and I'm aware of it, the same way I'm now aware of the letdown that I'll have when a play that I'm in closes. I know the drop is coming and I'm prepared for it. It's like being depressed in the spring. Everyone thinks you're supposed to be so happy in the spring, just like you should be so happy when you're leaving on a trip. But I get depressed in the spring, just as I've learned so many other people do, and yes, I've read about people, serious travel writers, who have identified the depression that occurs in leaving.

And for anyone who thinks I'm overly sensitive, you know what you can do. I'm so tired of people--usually ones who are thick and dense as a block of wood who experience life with all the vigor of a sea slug, telling me how I should or shouldn't experience life.

It's all in the leaving, and guilt that I'm doing something really nice for myself, a problem I've had all my life thinking that I really don't deserve nice things. (Try growing up poor in the working class; it isn't all a Matt Damon movie.) There's the guilt that I'm leaving behind responsibilities (for awhile, at least) that may need my attention.

It's awfully decadent to be traveling in this economy, isn't it? Even though Sue and I live so frugally in order to travel, and pretty much backpack wherever we go. It's the life we want to live, and it's the life we set out to live. Still, there are all the shoulds: I should be saving my money. I should be spending my money on something more practical or saving it for an emergency. I should be concentrating on looking for permanent work or even a really good contract. Even the play I'm in makes me guilty because last night the cast and director met for the first time and it's a really tight group of people, and I'm leaving and we could be rehearsing when I'm away and I want to do a really good job for the director who I really like, and I don't want to let my cast members down, whom I like and have a lot of respect for.

It's all in the leaving. And I learned a long time ago, on my first really big trip, that you can't look at it that you're leaving, but that you're going somewhere. Never look back (and never look down, either!) But look to where you're heading, and you'll do fine.

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