I slowly worked on a post about a then-upcoming solo trip to Victoria and about how much it meant to me and about how significant it was, etc. etc., for over a week but didn’t manage to finish it because I kept having health setbacks that made it difficult both to articulate what I wanted to communicate and to trust myself to edit my writing thoroughly enough that I wouldn’t later be embarrassed by what I had shared on the internet.
Yeah. You’ve likely figured out that this vacation, which represented so much to me that I spent a week crafting a blog post that dissected, in excruciating detail, what a milestone it would be, is no longer happening—not as planned, anyway. What a waste of an inappropriate number of hours of writing, right?!?
As you can imagine, I didn’t spontaneously decide that I’d rather stay in Toronto, though I probably should’ve examined the evidence available to me and used it to reach the conclusion that it was what I had to do. Various parts of the many-voiced choir that is my “health” had, in fact, been murmuring in my ear—nay, screaming in my face—that I should reconsider the feasibility of this trip, but, as is my habit, I’d stubbornly continued marching forward, determined that I would prove that I could succeed, exactly the attitude that tends to cause me to march right into health crises.
And then, somewhat predictably, came an epilepsy-related tipping point. My seizure clusters have been more frequent than usual, so it was already clear that there was a good chance I’d have one while away. After the latest, last Wednesday, my husband stated the obvious—that my taking a long flight alone and dealing with jet lag and a change in routine when my health is this unstable would be, in two words, wildly irresponsible.
Hearing it said aloud was a relief. Is it weird to admit that?
We talked about it and consulted some trusted family members, and I agreed pretty quickly to cancel. My husband and I will go together in August, when he’s able to take vacation from work, instead.
When I reread the following paragraph of my first 2019-trip-to-BC post, which is now yet another permanent citizen of a very full drafts folder, I can’t decide whether to cry or to marvel at what a remarkably uncharacteristic thing I did.
“This trip is a big deal. It’s been over a year since I’ve been well enough to fly, I’m itching to show that I’m capable of handling myself and my health issues far from the relative safety of home and the help of my husband, and it’s a stepping stone to future adventures. It feels as if there’s a lot on the line (because there is a lot on the line).”
What I want to take away from all this is a tweaked version of something identified in that snippet. There was a lot at stake with this trip. Why, then, risk it going poorly, especially when the universe—OK, my brain, with its dysfunctional neurons—was very loudly sending the message that it’s not the right time for me to travel alone? Why not shift my thinking and frame the postponement of this trip as a success rather than as a failure? When I’m single-mindedly focused on the idea that advancing in life means racking up arbitrary accomplishments within a certain time frame, it becomes hard for me to properly prioritize my medical needs. In this case, I was willing to acknowledge the danger and be flexible, but only after my husband raised the issue; a goal for the future is to be more proactive about making good choices earlier, and to make them for myself, before another person pushes me to act in my own best interests and without the layer of oozy “if I don’t do this I’m a failure, so I’ll do it no matter what” weirdness that almost always seeps into my decision-making processes.
That was an extremely longwinded way of saying that although I’m of course disappointed that I have to wait a month to see my family in BC, and although delaying my first solo travel experience in a while brings up a lot of emotions (ew, emotions, gross), there’s a certain satisfaction in doing the hard-but-right thing for my longer-term health and progress.
Still, it’ll feel so, so good to get on that plane.