Every so often, one is required to take a vacation, whether one wants to or not, when one is about to have a nervous breakdown, for example, and metaphorical white-coated men show up with kind firmness and a complimentary wrap-sleeved jacket. Or when one is still a teenager, without agency or car keys (which is the same thing in modern-day North America).
Or, slightly more happily, when one’s sister decides to get hitched in a remote slice of paradise tucked into a box canyon in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I mean, I suppose I could have declined; I am well past my teens and have agency galore. Car keys, even. But I would rather eat ground glass than miss the wedding of the person responsible for, among other things, saving my life some eight years ago.
Still. Generally, I do not vacation well. Since I’ve discerned there was a difference, I’ve found my favorite “vacations” are just wry twists on my regular routine, which is to say, taking select pieces of my regular routine to another place so that I can see and do them slightly differently. The carousing, the foreign schedule, and, on weeks like this, the meeting of a whole bunch of new people for the first time, even fantastic ones, can make bona-fide, Normal People Vacations somewhat problematic for the introvert freak contingent.
This trip was slightly different. Okay, wildly different. I left, I stayed, I enjoyed the hell out of myself, even though I barely busted out the laptop to write until today. The food and surroundings and accommodations were outstanding, which never hurts. And the occasion was a wildly happy one: my sister has met a genuinely superb guy with an incredibly nice family and the greatest, most welcoming set of friends I’ve met in a long time. Not a dud in the bunch, and every last one of them kind, funny and generous. I have hit the family-and-friend jackpot, and didn’t even know I was entered to win.
But also, I took some necessary precautions along the way. Housekeeping-wise, I prepped before I left, lining up several posts (although not this one, or one that should have gone up yesterday) for my various outlets of nerdery. I’ve got the rest of my life down to a streamlined minimum, so there’s not nearly as much last-minute wrangling to do before I leave home. And most importantly, once I got here, I did what I needed to do to keep my circuits from frying: lots of sneaking off by myself to read, to walk, to Nei Kung, to unplug. (Also, if you are an introvert/feminist/lightweight, refuse all offers of tequila shots, and keep your arms down when the bouquet gets thrown, if you can’t avoid the affair entirely.)
It wasn’t as much alone time as I get at home, living my freakish little life with its great swaths of solitude, but it was enough. I’m good, I had a great break, and I would not have done one thing differently. And now I have 50 new best friends, plus a brand new spare fambly. Plenty of time to nap when I’m dead, or something like that.
If you have a need for solitude, balancing it with the other, seemingly-lesser (but really, only less obvious) need for fellowship can get tricky. With a little time, care and the inevitable leap of faith, though, it generally all works out in the end.
And at times? Smashingly so…