The first time I heard that quote I laughed OUT LOUD.
“What did you say?” I asked my friend Annette at our kid’s basketball game.
“You know ‘wheels up’. Get on an airplane. Go.” she said.
I put it on my QuoteYa Board immediately. That one I wanted to remember. It spoke to me.
We get so caught up in our daily busy-ness, which is valid mind you. The hum-drum rhythm of our routine is very important. It’s how we build bonds. Earn trust. Get things done. It’s how we care and take care. Our daily to-dos are vital. But we can get so caught up in it.
Have you ever just said “I need a break,” and you were gone? It’s OK to put our responsibilities on hold for a little while and take care of ourselves. Not only is it OK, it is vital!
When the kids were little and I couldn’t bare the tumult, not one more second, I did just that–I took off. I got in the car ALONE and drove west. West just sounds so pioneer, doesn’t it? Well, I thought so… I went west. Now I didn’t get very far. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and made it to just outside of Lincoln (less than 50 miles). Not far at all. But I did it. And I needed to do it. And then, because the kids were little, I headed back. I had to get back to them.
But I did it again a few years later. I had enough of feeling under appreciated, undermined, and devalued. I had enough. Let go of the responsibilities. I needed a break. I threw clothes in an overnight bag, made sure everyone was OK, fed, and taken care of… and once again, I headed west.
This time I drove just a little farther – to a Benedictine Retreat Center I had heard of. I went to the front desk and asked if they had any availability.
“Could I get a room and breakfast in the morning? I won’t be a bother. I just need some sleep. I need some peace.”
It was the best 30 hours I had had in a long time. Reconnecting with myself, and feeling a little peace and quiet was exactly what was needed.
Today I Went a Little Farther
And today, several years later, I did it again. This time though, the kids are much older. Like years past, I went west. This time to Colorado. I am taking a break. With the demands of married and family life and my first born going off to college, I needed to go.
I found a clean, small, affordable one-bedroom condo with a breathtaking mountain view from the deck. There’s a bike path across the street, a Farmer’s Market in the morning, a yoga class at the park, and within view an amphitheater hosting a free concert the next two nights. I didn’t know any of this when I booked this spot. I am alone. I can breathe. I am taking a break. I had to tell myself and others: “I’m taking a break ALONE and IT’S OK.”
Why do we feel we have to validate what we NEED to do? Are we not good enough? Do we not deserve some time, some space, alone? Do we not crave it? But we tend to stuff it down like other uncomfortable things in life. Some of you may be uncomfortable being ALONE. But try it. Start small – go to a movie by yourself. Go to a coffee shop or out for dinner by yourself. Get acquainted with you. Then before you know it you’ll be taking a trip ALONE. Maybe you’ll head west and start to find some peace and quiet.
So “wheels up” it is!
Not only do I like the sweet no-nonsense simplicity of the quote. I like what it demands.
Go do it. Get in that car. Get on that plane. Let it take you where you need to be. Usually we only regret the things we don’t do.