The Great Escape

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.
-Walter Bagehot

This is how you will often see me. In a car, going up a mountain, through a valley, across the beach, cruisin’ a highway. I like to escape. Day trips, weekend trips, road trips, flying across the country, you name it, I love it. I love it a little too much though. My need for escape has become quite unhealthy.

When Kevin passed away, I escaped to the west coast just a month after he passed, to visit friends in California and Washington. I then began traveling to my parents’ cabin in Northern Pennsylvania by myself-something that intimidated me quite a bit. I ventured to the beach for day trips by myself just to get away. I would drive to random places just for a few hours to feel the calmness of being out of Lancaster.

Still, to this day, if I have an overnight with no plans, I’ll see if I can squeeze in a miniature vacation or escape plot in that time period. While it stresses me out to pack up the car in a short amount of time, financially prepare for the trip, and choose a spot, once I am on the road, I feel this sense of release, this zen-like calmness of getting away.

A friend told me today that he was suprised I had remained in Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, through all of this. To be quite honest, if not for these little escapes, I probably would have left altogether. I still wonder some days how I can stand to be constantly surrounded by so many reminders of that past life. I have options, but so many other widow(er)s do not. They have children, dedicated careers, and other things “tying” them to their hometowns. When Kevin died, I didn’t have any of that. I could have gone anywhere, but I chose to stay here.

I do not regret staying-because of choosing to stay I have met an entire city community I never knew existed, I met a wonderful new man who I am enjoying my life with, and have been able to be here for monumental moments in my family’s life: cancer, wedding, and now a future baby (I’m going to be an AUNT!).

I wish I could just “get away” ironically, from getting away. I wish the need to escape would leave me alone for a while so I could say “wow, a whole weekend of nothing to do, I think I’ll stay home”. I cannot recall the last time I thought that. It has been, for the past nearly two years, “wow a whole weekend of nothing to do, where can I go?”

I want my home to be my escape-I want my friends, family, even my cat, to be my “escape” from the daily grind. I would love to be able to just soak in those moments without thinking that I would rather be away somewhere. I love these times with the people that are closest to me, but I always have this tug to take advantage of every single moment and travel.

I can only hope the anxiety of staying will pass, and the pleasure of going away will be something I can look forward to at planned times, in considerable intervals so that I can enjoy the time here at home, in a quiet mindset.

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