Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cut Ties, Not Love

I think one reason why breaking up and/or growing distant from certain people is so painful is because we think we have to stop loving those people.

We separate paths for many reasons in life. Sometimes we simply grow apart. Sometimes our life situations are such that remaining close would cause more trouble than it's worth. Sometimes people need to get their shit together and need time and space to do that (sometimes the rest of their life). Sometimes we acknowledge that we need to go on our own spiritual journey, get our own shit together, and change our own bad habits.

But whatever the reason we choose to emotionally and physically part from people we still love, it often hurts. Sometimes there's nothing that hurts more...

In my personal experience with this, I've come to realize that you can't stop loving people if you have ever really loved them. You can't "un-love" them the way you can "un-friend" people on Facebook. Oh, sure, you can stuff the truth down and deny it. You can try to tell yourself that you don't care, but that's when it retaliates the strongest. That's when it comes creeping up to tap you on the shoulder, for instance, when you hear a certain song or experience some other trigger of a memory of that person, and it hits you like a bullet to the heart. But you also know that things would not work out if you tried again with that person. So you're stuck in a Catch 22 of Mind vs. Heart.

The trick, I've discovered, to handling this kind of battle is to stop fighting it. Now, I'm not saying to give into grief and woe-is-me thoughts and feelings until you are completely depressed. What I'm advising is to let yourself keep loving that person, knowing that you made a choice for your good or for the other person's good, but let yourself keep loving. Doing this takes the sting away, makes it hurt much less, at least in my experience.

Resisting the love we still feel and will always feel is what causes the most pain. So don't resist it. Accept your situation and that you are apart for a reason (maybe a million reasons), but also accept that the love for that person will always be there.

Because it's cliche, but it's true: true love never dies.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Are You Addicted To Traveling?

Today I came across an article on The Manual called "Are You A Travel Addict? According To Science, It's A Very Real Phenomenon."  The article discusses how in this day and age, travel is much easier and much more affordable than it has ever been. That, plus all the tantalizing photos of exotic locales crossing our vision on social media, has played a part in creating the actual psychological disorder known as "dromomania" or or "vagabond neurosis" in some people.

I think I can understand the addictive qualities of travel, although I would never risk my job or relationships for it. When I was younger, I did quite a bit of traveling. As a child, I mainly went with my family on road trips to different cities in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado during summer vacations. But these trips became an expected part of the year. They gave me something to look forward to when life got boring. It was always so much fun and so refreshing to not only get away from the humdrum of daily life, but also to see new places and experience new adventures.

As I grew older and more independent, and I traveled by myself by airplane (also a thrill) to see friends in states like California, Arkansas, Kansas, and even Canada. Right before my senior year, I went with my dad to England (London and Exeter) on a business trip, which was one of the happiest weeks of my life. I still get out the pictures every now and then as a nostalgic pick-me-up and hope I can go back someday.

Then, when I graduated from college, everything changed. I was on my own for the first time, having rented a little house, and having to work two jobs just to pay the bills. And although I was thrilled to finally be independent and taking care of myself, the traveling stopped. It stopped for several years, in fact, and I can tell you, I really missed it. Each year, I genuinely felt the itch to get up and go somewhere new. You could almost say I went through withdrawal as I experienced a sort of mild depression from feeling chained to my responsibilities and finances.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I began to travel again, first to Eureka Springs, then to New York, and this summer, to Santa Fe - all new places I'd never been before. I started to feel much more relieved and happier. Now that I'm in a place financially where I can afford to take these yearly trips, I have something exciting to look forward to again.

Aside from the novelty of visiting new places and the relief of temporarily escaping from responsibilities, I also feel like I grow as a person every time I travel. My mind has opened in ways that I don't think it would have if I had only stayed in one place all my life. Because of these vacations, I've been able to spend time with awesome people and experience things with them that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to experience.

So, yes, I totally get it; however, I don't think I'm at the level of having a genuine addiction. Sometimes just watching a movie or reading a book that takes me to another place in my mind can be enough to satisfy that urge. And I think that's how most people are. But it is interesting to know that there are genuine addicts out there these days who risk the security of their lives to get out on the open road. I guess anything can be addicting.

What are your thoughts about travel addiction? Do you think you've ever experienced it to any degree? Do you have to get out of town once a year or more in order to scratch the travel itch? Please feel free to leave a comment.