There is a song by The Doors called “Not To Touch The Earth”. I would say it is not one of their most well known tunes as it came out with the awesome Celebration Of The Lizard which is a set of poems and songs which all string together to form the Celebration Of The Lizard…good stuff for any Doors fans reading this. My favorite line is “Not to touch the earth…not to see the sun…nothing left to do but run, run, run…let’s run!”. “Not To Touch The Earth” became our go to song we play loudly in our house before heading out for a vacation. Well, this Saturday, neighbors be warned…you will hear this tune being played loudly as we get ready to head out Saturday morning. To say I am excited, well I am…to say I’m also apprehensive, this is the truth.
So, my wife and I and our dog, Ben, are heading to the coast of North Carolina. There we have rented a small house, on stilts, right on the beach. The house is located more in a residential area and doesn’t appear to be near any hotels which is awesome to us. It will allow us to truly get away and I don’t have to worry about all the people that comes with a beach front resort/hotel.
I am excited. My wife and I haven’t been away, just the two of us, in a long time. We do go camping together, which is great, but it isn’t the same as hitting the beach together. An added bonus is this time, he doesn’t understand it yet, but we are taking our dog, Ben, with us. I am excited to show my boy the ocean! He is a 3 year old black lab mix who loves his squeaky tennis ball. He also has gotten really good at catching his floppy frisbee. Sounds like the makings of some awesome beach time. Again, the house seems to be off the beaten path, so it should be perfect for the two of us and a dog who likes to play non-stop.
Again, I am excited. Of all the places I’ve been, the ocean is my favorite. I love the mountains and I really enjoy going most anywhere that isn’t home, but the ocean is my jam. I’ve always been a huge fan of water, not just for drinking and the fact we are 70% water ourselves, but I have always liked trekking to an ocean. The beach, the crashing waves, the sun…it is all so refreshing. My soul could use some refreshing. It’s been a long year and I think all of our souls could use some refreshing. So we go to the ocean.
I am one who can sit in a chair and watch the waves crash on the beach for hours. I love the sight of it. I love the sound of it. It is so powerful and yet so peaceful. My soul craves peaceful more than ever right now. To top it off, I get to spend a week with my wife. We always have so much fun together, regardless of what we do. We are both just thankful we have the abilities and the means to get away.
I am also looking forward to the road trip. Pack all of our stuff. Jump in the car and off we go. Half the fun of any vacation is the journey. We haven’t had a road trip like this in a while. Jamming to tunes. Talking. Potentially stopping to see the biggest ball of twine or something similar. All of it is awesome and all of it is an experience. Is it Saturday yet?
And then, enter my brain. Ugh. Why is there a level of apprehension related to this vacation? Why is there a level of hesitation that is making me nervous about going? Why can I not commit myself to being fully committed to being as excited as I can be about this awesome trip? The worry begins to set in. I don’t want it to set in, but sometimes I feel like I don’t always have a choice in the matter. Or maybe I’m still a work in progress and I’m not there yet to having all of this mastered. Do we really ever get to the mastering stage? My guess is no.
I have found that through the pandemic, I have been home a lot more. We all have. For a lot of it, we did what we needed to do to keep ourselves and others safe. Nobody wants to be the reason someone contracts the virus, so I did the best I could. Yes, we did venture out. It’s not like we didn’t go anywhere and do anything fun. We were just very careful with who we did it with and we were careful with what we did. You didn’t find us out there in the crowds doing the touristy stuff.
With the being at home more aspect, it became increasingly easier to explore the introvert in me. I never thought of myself as an introvert until I stopped drinking and tackled my mental illness. The introversion, I believe, has become a crutch. I am introverted more than I am not, I recognize this, but to the level I exercise it right now seems to be a little overboard.
It is easy to get out of doing something, when you can use the pandemic as a reason for not doing whatever it is. Nobody really questions you about it. It maybe has spun out of control in my life. Stepping out of the house, even some days for my job, can be a struggle. I have to prepare myself for leaving. This is not how I used to be. At least not to this level, but here I am. I think this is a big reason for the hesitation and apprehension I feel towards this vacation.
I’m not trying to be a spoiled brat or anything. I get it that not everyone has the means and the abilities to just go do these things. I am very thankful for what I have been given in life and I do not want to sound like I am taking this for granted or anything. The things I am talking about here are just thoughts I have been having and it helps to get it out.
The hesitation and the apprehension keep popping up. I have become way too good at worrying. It drives me crazy how much I can worry about anything and everything. I worry about stuff that hasn’t even happened and probably won’t happen. I believe the worry can be related to me still not having fully let go of what I have been going through. I believe not letting go, leads me to keeping a guard up all of the time. I’m about to go on vacation and have a great time and all I can think about is what is going to go wrong. Or do I even deserve this. Who am I to get to just up and go and others cannot. I worry about the journey. I worry about the hotel we are going to stay in half way through our road trip. The hotel is dog friendly, but is it really even though everything I have read says it is. Am I going to pop into some funk while out there? Am I going to get there and just want to be at home? These are a few of the things my brain throws at me during a time I am supposed to be looking forward to this trip.
I am looking forward to this trip, but part of me isn’t excited for the trip. I am on one hand and in the other I am not. So goofy. Why can’t I just let my guard down and just be able to soak up the relaxation and allow myself to enjoy the recharging process?
This to me is a big key to it all. I think I am still afraid to put the real me, the new me, out there and test this new way of living out to the fullest. I am still learning all about how to be and how to think of myself. I think I am afraid to show myself who I can really be and who I am becoming. I’m supposed to be proud of everything I have done. I am proud of everything I have done, but for some reason I don’t trust myself. As far as I have come, I am still needing to remind myself to be patient and trust the process. I like who I am becoming, but I’m not very comfortable in my new skin. I was one way for so long and now I am trying to be this other way in which I envision myself, as I move forward. Well, hmmm.
So, I remain to be a work in progress. I have to let my guard down. I have to keep learning how to do it. I don’t always have to be in protection mode. It’s almost like I am afraid of letting my guard down because around every corner, a bad situation is lurking. To be in this state of constant alertness is exhausting. It simply isn’t sustainable. Why? Because we aren’t meant to be in a constant state of alertness. It is OK to let your guard down and enjoy the moments around you.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Obviously it isn’t easy or I wouldn’t be writing this. I know I need to get better at enjoying the moment and allowing myself to enjoy the moment. Maybe this trip is a test and also contains more information for how to get to the point where I can allow myself to drop my guard. I think I will go with this thought and I will try to do my best to enjoy the moment. Enjoy the moment with my wife and my dog. They are my everything and why should I short change an experience with them?
The answer is of course I don’t want to lose out on any potential for a great experience. So, I will continue to work on myself. I have to. I will make it a point to Let Go during this vacation. Our work is never done when it pertains to our mental health. I need to keep searching for the ability to drop my guard and also keep building my mental health. I think being able to drop my guard from time to time is exactly what will help to build my mental health.
The day is approaching for us to pack up and hit the road. Even just writing all of this has helped to straighten some stuff in my mind. I will do my best to drop my guard and allow myself to fully enjoy the experience I am about to have. If you struggle with this exact same thing keep going. I am going to keep going. Even when I feel frustrated or apprehensive or hesitant. I will keep going. We have to keep going. This whole thing is a journey after all and we have to do what we can to keep moving forward.
I got this! You got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this journey together!
Have a great day!
Please visit: Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
A website I created to further my mission to spread mental health awareness. This blog and also a podcast I do, live there, as do some other ideas. Please check it out!