What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? – Susannah Conway, Reverb 10
No question. Deciding to go to England, when all practical parts of me screamed “What the heck are you thinking?!” I’m sure I am starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but this trip was a pretty big deal for me all around. It was definitely a leap for me, in many ways.
I first heard about it over a year ago. Someone I knew was planning to go and was working on organizing a tour with someone she knew over there. I was interested and asked to be included when she knew more details. Because, you know, I would think about it. Really, though excited about the possibilities, the part I was truly thinking about was the cost involved with such a fantastic-sounding trip. Every time it was mentioned, I felt that little flutter of excitement and then saw the dancing dollar signs. But I was thinking about it. Sorta-kinda in a way that means the answer will most likely be no.
A friend of mine this week wrote on her blog about being a worrier. Do I know about that. I come by it honestly, I was raised by people who were raised by people who lived through the Great Depression. People who know from worry, especially about money and being able to provide. I have certainly had a habit of letting money dictate what I did and didn’t do. Granted, there is some self-preservation in that and I would never advocate carelessness, but even when I was in a better position to go for things, I always kept myself on a rather short leash. I’ll never really know what amazing opportunities passed me by because of it.
When the information finally came through regarding the trip, I glanced at the e-mail and went straight for the bottom line. And gulped. And thought no, this wasn’t for me. Such a neat trip, such a wonderful thing for someone to do, but I wasn’t in a position to do it. There would be other trips, other times. This time was for someone else. I talked it over with a friend of mine at the time who knew I had been mulling it, and while I don’t recall her agreeing with me, she knew it was my decision and was supportive.
A few days later, something interesting happened. I was chatting with my mother one morning and out of the blue, knowing nothing about the trip I had considered and decided against, she said, “You should go to England!” What? Huh? My senses perked and I was listening. “Oh? Really?” I said, playing it as cool as one can with one’s heart pounding in their ears. “Yes.” She replied, and I kind of forget the rest she said about it because my brain was buzzing. What!? I know she had a bit of a different idea of a trip (I have friends there I could visit), but I wondered, could I really go? I said nothing to her about it that day, but I told it to my friend in a here’s-a-funny-story kind of way and her immediate response was, “So you know you’re going, right?” And suddenly, I wasn’t just thinking about it, I was actually thinking about GOING!
I finally allowed myself to look at the itinerary in detail. I found my jaw dropping. This trip. This trip! This trip was to everywhere in southern England that I had ever thought I would like visit and more. This trip was a guided tour of everywhere in southern England I had ever thought I would like to visit AND every crop circle we could get to in 2 weeks’ time. This trip was everything a history nerd like me could ever want and then some.
I had almost turned this trip down.
Both of my parents had gone out of town, which allowed me to bounce around with these thoughts to myself like a pin-ball on both a caffeine and a sugar high. It turned out to be a good thing. Besides the fact that I would have been very difficult to be around, I needed that time to look at the itinerary again and again and acknowledge that this was, indeed, for me. Then I’d look at it again and catch another teeny detail that would only solidify it more. I could hardly believe it had fallen into my lap. Only one thing remained. Well, two. My parents have helped me incredibly this year, more than people who have offspring my age usually need to. I couldn’t fully commit until I had their approval (not the word I was going for, but the only one I could think of). It would have been incredibly disrespectful to all they had done for me to do it any other way.
When my mom came back, I sat her down and showed her the itinerary. Incredibly, she was completely supportive, as was my dad (he was a bit more worried about it, but supportive). I confirmed my spot and started planning.
This post is long enough; the details and how much I learned and grew on this trip are stories for another day. The most important part of the whole thing are the people I came away knowing. Acquaintances that have blossomed into wonderful friendships that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t gone. To think I almost let myself miss out on that. How grateful am I that I didn’t. That I wasn’t allowed to miss it. The craziest, wisest decision I made all year.