Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and I spent a good part of it with my parents and my niece. We went out to eat and played some games. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I was distracted and frustrated for much of it. Earlier that morning, I received a little email from DuranDuranMusic informing me that Duran Duran has added five shows in September on the West Coast. I read the email and chose not to react…much. After all the timing of these shows is the worst ever. All I did was simply forward it on to Rhonda. I offered her little commentary but part of me hoped that she and our friends would reject these dates. I didn’t want to have to make a decision about whether or not they were feasible. It felt like too much after another insane and tough weeks at work. So, after I forwarded the email, I put the idea aside and went on with my plans.
About 45 minutes into our drive, my phone started to go a little crazy, indicating lots of notifications. At first, I thought it was my niece alerting us to some change in plans but then I realized that it was time for the West Coast to start waking up. Of course, my friends saw the news and were reacting. Not knowing what the initial thoughts were as I couldn’t check my phone as the driver, caused me to stew. What if they want to go? What if they can? Could I make it work at all? What are the rules at work about September time off? Then, I just started getting frustrated. Why couldn’t the band come to the Midwest? If they were playing near me, so much more would be possible and easier. Why do I always have to fly? Why is it always the West Coast? What is that about? Yes, yes, I know it about the money. They must get paid a good amount to play there, I thought to myself. I even recognized that if I am frustrated, imagine what the rest of the country and world feels. They haven’t gotten shows in years! Then, I started to get mad at myself for getting mad. Needless to say, those fifteen minutes of driving were torture and the more time I had the more irritated I became. Sometimes, I am so stupid. Yet, I could not help how I felt.
Finally, the car stopped and I was able to check my messages. Shit. They all wanted to go and could. Of course, they did and could. They have normal jobs–not like mine with all of the dumb rules and regulations. Notice how my frustration moved from the band to the job. Part of me was even mad at my friends, which is the dumbest thing ever. Then, as soon as I thought that, I realized that I didn’t even know why I was mad at them. Of course, they could and should go to as many shows as possible. Why would I stop them from having a good time? No, it has way more to do with how *I* wanted to go but didn’t think I could. I was angry at the situation more than anything else. I wasn’t really mad at my friends, at the band, or even really at work.
As I sat down at restaurant and began to message my friends back, I started to calm down. Maybe I could make something work? I began checking my employee handbook. I started searching for flights in general. I figured that at least I wouldn’t just dismiss the shows outright and that would make me feel better. By the time, my parents and I were driving back, the messages had slowed down as everyone tried to figure out what they could really do after the initial excitement. I had settled into a maybe I could go state of being. Then, on the way home, I started to talk to my parents about the possibilities. I weighed the pros and cons and sought their opinions. As normal, my parents tried not to take sides, preferring me to come to my own conclusions, which sometimes drives me crazy. After all, I can sit with indecisiveness for a long time. Usually, when that happens, it is because I feel guilty. I feel guilty for missing work so early in the year. I finally could admit that this was the underlying issue. Having recognized that, I got a little more frustrated, at both the system that creates and reinforces that, and at myself for letting myself feel that way.
As Sunday night turned to Monday, I concluded that I would ask a couple of colleagues and friends what they think I should do. They did not seem shocked or appalled that I asked the question nor did they seem to think I would be terrible for going. By the time Rhonda messaged me in the middle of the day, I knew that I could and would make Vegas work. Of course, I also wanted reassurance that people actually wanted me to go. Why did I worry about that? First, I wasn’t super awesome the day before, which I was not proud of. Second and more importantly, the last time wasn’t ideal due solely to me. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like the Vegas trip in February wasn’t fun. I had a good time and the shows were great! I cannot complain there. But Rhonda tried to talk to me and I wasn’t able to articulate well what I was thinking and feeling. I’m sure that it ended up making things worse instead of better. I definitely seemed unfocused and I was to a lot of extent. It has nothing to do with the band or fandom. My head was still in campaign land. Up until that point, I had been able to turn off work when I tour but I couldn’t then. Being in charge created a different reaction in me. More significantly than all that, I was literally exhausted. Now, I know that is a word that gets thrown around often by many people but…the way I’m using it goes beyond I need some sleep. No, my exhaustion ran deep. It is the reason I was sick for over a month. Even today, I feel it as I need significant amount of time to really rest and recover. After all, working two intense full time jobs for months is bound to take its toll. That mini-tour just happened to hit at the worst point of my illness and my exhaustion.
So the more I thought about making Vegas work, the more it made sense to me. Is it the best thing to do for work? No. Do I already give a lot? Yes. More than many. More than most. I cannot feel bad about taking a day. One day. I deserve a chance for a do over, right? I think so. Then, of course, Rhonda and I managed to get tickets on Wednesday through the typical, “I hate Ticketmaster” process. I took it as another sign that it is meant to be. Finally, reading about our friend fighting in the hospital, reminded me that life is short. I’m not going to regret missing a day of work, but I might miss a chance to be in my happy place with my friends.