August 10th, 2008

On my recent trip back home, I had my first experience with a GPS, and I became addicted within about 5 minutes. The soothing, competent voice (she knows where she’s going!) was constantly saying, “recalculating” and putting me back on course when I insisted on making u-turns, backtracking, going off on tangents. My entire trip was one major life recalculation. I had dreaded going home, re-entering all the family soap operas and having all the old ghosts jostling to ride shotgun. I’m usually completely lost and bewildered when I land in Kentucky even though I grew up there and returned year after year once I’d run away. This time I felt as if I’d finally taken control–I had a GPS, a kickass hotel and an invitation to give a speech. I was a grownup, by god. What I hadn’t counted on was time-traveling, unraveling my self, and for that trip I needed a guru, not a GPS. I wish I’d had an emotional compass that would have have warned me when I was headed into uncharted territory, but I had to go over this Dark and Bloody Ground by myself. I couldn’t figure out why I was so unsettled, so shaken and stirred, until I realized that for 30 years, I’ve been clinging to the dream of going home on my own terms, reuniting with the love of my life, and maybe settling down on a forgotten farm in the back of nowhere. On this trip, I found once and for all that the love of my life and I only had our old selves in common and that there was no going back to a land that never existed in the first place. My mind is trying to let go of that dream, but my soul is still clinging on for dear life. I think change is like my trapeze lessons–I have to trust that once I let go, I’ll kick off into thin air but the bar will be there to swing me up and over the familiar horizon into a new and unexplored land. Easier to say than do. I’m trying.

3 Responses to “Recalculating”

  1. Pat says:

    Oh, Nikki, isn’t it difficult to look back and realize that the person we were “then” is not the same person we are now, nor are the memories of our youth quite as we remember them. I think we are better, yet we don’t give ourselves any credit at all for surviving that youth. I wonder why? Pat

  2. Marilyn says:

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  3. woodley park-zoo says:

    Going home on your own terms, what a perfect way of putting such a difficult task. I don’t know if my return this year will be quite there yet but I hope I’ve made some progress this year.

    I too am addicted to GPS, it’s a little scary how much you can rely on it and damn scary when you don’t have it in a city you’ve only navigated with it.