Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Where in the World?
I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before me, and it's making me crazy!
Let me backtrack a bit... I have a wonderful friend who has been an amazing part of my life for almost a quarter-century. Her friendship has seen me through so many ups and downs over the years. We supported each other through several painful relationships and subsequent breakups, and always manage to pick up right where we leave off, despite the fact that we have not lived in the same time zone for 15 years. She is, plain and simple, a great friend.
She has also found substantial success in her professional life. In the past 7 years, she has nailed a regular TV show, two book deals, and her own cosmetics line. Life has been good to this hard-working girl, and I am thrilled for her and her success!
Well, I have a big birthday coming up in less than 6 months. Yup, I'm turning forty in May. How the hell that snuck up on me, I'll never know. My dear friend recently called to remind me that the big day is hanging over my head, and to ask me what I had planned. I figured “fixing myself a hemlock cocktail” was a bit on the melodramatic side, so I just admitted I had nothing planned yet. She took the opportunity to declare that she wanted to treat me to a Girls’ Trip for my birthday…anywhere I want to go, anything I want to do.
“Ok, let’s go pet penguins in Patagonia!” I shot back.
She said we could do that.
Or we could climb Kilimanjaro…
Cruise the Nile…
Take the train from Dakar to Bamako and hire Tuareg guides to escort us to Timbuktu…
Drink rum on a beach in the Caribbean until we turn purple…
She literally meant anywhere and anything…her treat!
This is an incredibly generous offer, the kind of opportunity that I would have killed for in the past. Now, however, it presents a whole bunch of challenges.
First…I’m a mom with three kids. I have a wonderful husband who has always supported anything I wanted to do. I know he will do whatever he can to make this trip possible for me. He’ll make sure the kids are well cared-for. He’ll drive me to the airport. He’ll even double check my packing to make sure I don’t forget my toothbrush or socks. Still, I have to consider the fact that there are now a bunch of little people counting on me to come back, safe and sound. That kind of limits where I can go and what I can do. So, for as much as I would LOVE to head to Rwanda and climb the Virungas to Dian Fossey’s Mountain Gorilla Research Center, it’s probably not prudent when one considers the current state of instability in neighboring Congo. Conflict in that part of the world has a tendency to spill across borders.
Second…I have major guilt at my inability to reciprocate. This is a big one for me. I have spent the past week trying to remind myself that there was a time when I sent this same girlfriend Trader Joe’s care packages filled with boxed soups, peanut butter, pasta, and other staples so she wouldn’t starve while struggling to make it in NYC in the early days of her career. I know, because she’s told me repeatedly, that she wants to do stuff like this…that it’s not a big deal because the nature of her business means she’s accumulated more airline miles and AMEX points than she’ll ever be able to use on her own. My own perspective, after ten years of paycheck-to-paycheck school teaching, makes it hard to wrap my brain around this kind of lifestyle. It baffles me!
Finally…there are too many choices! Literally, there’s a whole world of possibilities out there!
I want to do something I’d never have the chance to do again.
I want to go somewhere I’m not likely to go with my family “someday”…so no Hawaii or Mexico.
I want to go somewhere that won’t require 24+ hours just to get there…if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip I want it to start ASAP!
Poor me…what a tough choice!