Image credit: CIA World Factbook, via Wikimedia Commons
I tell myself that our planet is not that big. Daily we are in contact with people right around the globe. It seems no different from communicating with someone just down the street. But tomorrow I set forth on a journey of over 12,000 miles (18,600 kilometres for those of us on metrics), flying from New Zealand to England.
My earlier post, …And She Flew told of the adventure I am heading off on, and asked fellow Fibromyalgia sufferers to share any tips they might have for managing travelling. I didn’t quite get the flurry of advice I hoped for, and that only suggests one thing. Most Fibro sufferers know better than to fly for 31 hours half way around the planet.
Never mind. I’m not put off. This is one of those times in life where I know I could choose the safe, painless, no-risk approach of staying at home. The problem when I do that is that I miss out on something wonderful. Not to mention someone wonderful.
I’ve been playing it safe for a long time. When I started blogging just over a year ago, I admit I would have laughed hysterically if you had told me that I would meet a fellow blogger, fall in love, and now be taking off on this trip. It was the last thing on my mind. I simply wouldn’t have believed that I would had changed sufficiently, for the good, to be doing this.
For twenty years now I have been battling mental illness, and flying around the world was certainly not one of the things I would have considered doing, let alone been in a state well enough to do it. What’s more, when I left my marriage fifteen years ago I very firmly decided that I’d had enough of relationships. I had proven to myself (and anyone watching) that I just wasn’t made for relationships. I was much better off on my own. And so that’s what I did.
My therapist is quietly sniggering to himself now (in a nice way) as he remembers some of my first words to him which were along those lines. I didn’t need anyone, and I simply wasn’t going to go there… ever.
Simple. Just close down the hatches and keep away from any situation that might lead to an intimate relationship. It’s easy if you are choosing also to cut yourself off from the world (because the world hurt me too much). I had what I needed. I had my cat, my teddy bear and… well actually, that was about it.
I wasn’t someone sitting at home, with the cat and the teddy bear, wishing for a relationship either. I was happy being single… but perhaps only because I was too scared of confronting myself and my needs, if I let another person get close.
So now I have let another person get close, and actually it feels good. Actually it’s worth the risk to get on a plane and fly half way around the planet. It blows me away how much can change when I learn to take things one day at a time, when I find the will inside of me to trust another person, and most importantly learn to trust myself for perhaps the first time in my life.
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
― Hunter S. Thompson
“Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself.”
― Katherine Mansfield,
Journal of Katherine Mansfield (14 October 1922)