Middle Lifetime 101, Fifty-Third Period.
The Turn of the Millenia
It was the year 2001ad. It was the turn of a millenia, something that does not occur in a normal lifetime always. There are some who never have a Millenium change in their lifetime. I find that a bit sad actually. Notwithstanding the significance of a Millenial turn, it is really nothing but the change of a number. One moment it was the year 2000, and then the next moment it is year 2001. But I forgot, for too many people, the turn of the century occured when the year 1999 expired. That is not correct, because there was no year 0. Yet, let us not argue the matter, for me the millenia turned with the second that followed 12/31/2000 11:59:59pm.
After just arguing that this matter is just the change of a number, and that it happens the year following the one that most people happen to feel that it happened. Nonetheless I felt that this sort of thing really does have a greater significance than I implied. Just as for many people New Years Eve makes a great marker and advent of change, I found that a New Centuries Eve made an even greater marker for me. As well as a greater advent of change.
It was Monday, 1/1/2001, New Years Day. I was 48 years old. Since it was a holiday I was able to sleep late. Not waking up until 06:30am. I was very clear about how I would spend the morning. I would make breakfast, and then read a book for a while. Then I would watch the Rose Bowl Parade©. Then for the rest of the day there would be a whole lot of ‘nothin productive at all’.
As it would turn out I would idly think about traveling once the parade was over. I had not traveled for several years. I had been going through some real financial difficulties since the middle 90’s, and had not taken a real vacation in all that time. Yet, things were beginning to look up with my prospects of earning power, and before very long I could consider a real vacation. I would be moving in 2001 into a trailer home over in Pittsgrove New Jersey. There would be moving expenses there along with some decoration expenses, so while 2001 seemed out for a vacation, I could think about 2002. Yet I was uneasy. Could it be that I had developed a reluctance to travel!
It suddenly seemed to me that there was a lot of effort in traveling, and as I had gotten older, I was becoming reluctant to travel. That thought seemed to be almost unamerican, perhaps even a little subversive. Afterall for most people travel is something akin to a ‘right’, and certainly something to be desired, looked forward to fondly. Yet I did not look forward to traveling at that particular time.
After considerable thought on the matter I decided that there was nothing to this ‘feeling’ of mine, and would disregard it, pretty much, and I would do some traveling before too much time elapsed.
It had become 2003, and now I did decide to visit Walt Disney World again. My reluctance to travel had receded, and I began to plan a 5 day visit to Orlando. I would fly down to Florida on Spirit Airline out of Atlantic City. I was a bit nervous about the flight since by now, after 9/11, the TSA was beginning it’s flight security operations. But I should have no problem in getting through the security lines, so a momentary qualm did not prevent my planning. Indeed, I would return from this trip feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Once we reached 2005 I decided to return to cruising and booked an April cruise out of Miami on the Carnival MS Triumph. A 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Again I would have to brave the TSA flight security organization to get to and return from Miami, but I did so with very few qualms. And once again I returned refreshed and relaxed.
And I was encouraged enough to begin planning a cruise for the latter half of 2006, this time a return to Princess Cruise Lines and the MS Caribbean Princess. Yet again, I was able to go through the TSA process without trouble. And it turned out to be a wonderful cruise! So it would seem that my travel reluctance was just a chimera.
In latter 2008 I had booked a post thanksgiving cruise, this time on Royal Caribbean on the MS Mariner of the Seas. But just before taking off, those travel qualms struck me suddenly and hard! The plane was taxiing preparatory for take-off, when all of a sudden I thought that I had forgotten to turn the stove off at home when I made a cup of tea before getting in the car to leave for the airport! What a terrible time to get such doubts! There was no way I could stop the plane at this point. Would I get to Orlando, then take a flight home? Then, would I discover a burnt down home or that nothing at all untoward had happened?
I rationalized things by feverishly thinking that I had never, ever before left the house with the major appliances left on, it was folly to let a foolish thought take over my reasoning! As the plane rotated off the runway I had convinced myself that I HAD NOT left the stove on, and that I was just being silly. (Spoiler Alert; when I got home it was to find that No, I had Not left the stove on). Still from now on I would find that I was dreading to fly.
I had postponed my next vacation until 2010, and yes I was reluctant to fly. I found that Carnival Cruise Line had the MS Pride that sailed out of Baltimore. I would be able to board the ship without having to fly. It being a simple 2 hour drive from Pittsgrove to reach Port Baltimore. I would even be able to make a one day shore excursion to the Magic Kingdom since the ship made a stop at Port Canaveral. The cruise line providing the transportation over the Walt Disney World.
It was a very enjoyable cruise, and I decided to repeat the experience in 2011 taking the same ship with a shore excursion over to Universal Islands of Adventure which was opening the Harry Potter and Hogsmeade Village area. Something that I very desperately want to see. Yet again another very relaxing cruise and a great vacation.
After this cruise I had become enamored of the “Kingdom Keepers” series by Ridley Pearson. I wanted to follow some clues of these “Disney” kid detectives, clues that were located in Animal Kingdom of Walt Disney World. So I booked a post thanksgiving cruise for 2012. This time I would take the shore excursion out of Port Canaveral to the Animal Kingdom.
Things proceeded normally until Sunday, November 18, 2012.
It was that day, the week before I was to board the MS Pride, that a great doubt, a really dark cloud of uncertainty engulfed me. I started to convince myself that I did not want to travel. There was too much effort, it would not be worth my time. While I did not have to go to an airport and get on a plane, there was that 2 hour drive. Would I remember to pack everything that I needed? Would I do something wrong and get myself in trouble? What if I forgot my passport?
The indecision that hit me was terrible, I could not even come up with a convincing reason why I should leave the house and go 1200 miles in any direction, let alone to Florida and the Bahamas!
I was really upset, and could not think of anyone that I could talk with about it. It was an unnamable and insubstantial fear that nonetheless permeated me for a couple of days.
Over the week following I was to forcibly remind myself that at this point my arrangements were non-refundable. That I should make a comprehensive packing list and utilize the mnemonic tricks I had learned to make sure that I did (for example) remember my passport. That I could leave early the next Sunday and drive extra carefully to Port Baltimore to catch the ship.
I was indeed to follow all of my advice. And the next Sunday I did leave early and drive carefully, and even a bit more slower than I had in the past. I got on the ship, and yes, it was a lovely cruise. And I found the clues that had been offered in “Kingdom Keeper, Part II”. And I came back refreshed and relaxed.
However, (cue the dramatic music): by the next time I was planning a vacation it was 2013 and I was 60 years old, and mom was right! I was beginning to just settle down and not have an urgent desire to travel when it got down to ‘crunch time’ and the trip was a week or two away.
Yet, I did not just stop traveling, I would enthusiastically plan for other ‘adventures’ and to book them. When it got done to the last couple of weeks before actually leaving, I would start to get depressed and wonder just why I was going to all this trouble! Especially in recent years when I had decided to take multi-day visits to the Orlando area, and thusly I would again have to fly.
I should make it clear, that I am not afraid to fly, even now at 65 years old. After all I am ex Air Force. In my time I’ve probably flown more than most of you out there. No, the flights I find relaxing. It is the security lines, it is the hassle of parking, it is the new ID requirements, and it is the constant little fees that everybody feels constrained to think up and implement nowadays.
Travel used to exciting, exotic, and sophisticated. It is none of that nowadays. It is a lot of hassle for the most part. I just become depressed with all the prep. Things are a little better on the security line front now that I am a Known Person on the TSA PreCheck list. But still, I think that moving from the “Middle Lifetime 101” to the “Senior Citizen 101” is what had turned the trick.
And yet, there is early 2020 when I want to visit Bantu at the Galaxy’s Edge. In that galaxy far, far away (and in Disney Studios, Florida) I am convinced that I want to go there as well as be there. But you can be sure that two weeks before my actual departure, I will be dreading the effort. It will be;
A Reluctance to Travel, Again