The end of my marriage has led to some new traditions for me. One of those is the need for a periodic wiping of the slate, a tabula rasa of sorts where I disengage from my normal surroundings for a brief period and ensconce myself in a new environment surrounded by strangers. I feel pulled to do this, an itching that consumes me until I make the arrangements.
Part of this need is simply a break from my normal routine. My daily life is very scheduled and planned. As a teacher, one day looks much like the next and my days are broken down into almost-identical segments separated by a bell. Outside of school is not much better, as I have to carefully plan workouts, menus, newsletter writing, and shopping lists to make sure that everything happens. Sometimes, I just need a break where I do not have to think about next week’s menu or tomorrow’s lesson plan. I need to be able to flow through the day, unconcerned with the arrival of second period or getting to the store before the post-church rush. A new environment with no one to care for but myself allows me to be in the moment without having to plan for the next.
I also enjoy the anonymity of these trips. The blank box of a hotel room, navigating through crowds alone, slipping through the town leaving only the traces I choose, all give me a sense of freedom. It is a time for reflection and rebirth. My spirit and creativity feel refreshed by the lack of definition. It gives me a chance to see myself without the decorations of daily life.
My need for adventure is also satisfied through these jaunts. I enjoy exploring a new environment, exposure to new sights and sounds. There is not much opportunity in my daily life to stimulate curiosity, so I try to inoculate with a large dose periodically.
This blank slate trip is an over-nighter to a nearby city, deferring to time and money constraints. It is a city I have driven through, but never visited. It is nothing special, but it is new to me. I hope to visit the botanical gardens and the art museum. I want to run the trails of a nearby state park and enjoy the springtime vistas. I desire to walk the “funky” shopping streets, as I thrive off the energy in those areas. I may venture into a venue for live music, or I may spend the evening in meditation. It doesn’t matter. I can flow with my rhythm and not worry about an agenda.
So here goes tabula rasa redux IV, where I can clean off the residue of daily life and emerge refreshed and invigorated.