Maybe I don’t like the word journey because at some point in the late 90s, it got fused with incredible or amazing and was overused by everyone, but mostly reality tv show twenty-somethings trying to sound wise. Maybe journey makes me think of Steve Perry’s mullet, which makes me feel depressed because I remember when mullets were first born.
These days I can’t avoid the word journey because it is the word in recovery-speak and also because I am on a muther of a journey every day of my life and it mostly rocks like a mullet, which is to say pretty hard.
Before my husband and I moved in together, we long-distance dated for half a year and flew out to see each other a few times. My favorite visit was when I went out in fall and he surprised me with a baggie of psychedelic mushrooms*, which he ruined a perfectly good pizza with by sprinkling them on top. Psychedelic mushrooms taste like chewy sponges soaked in formaldehyde, which is probably what they are. We ate the terrible pizza and tripped for the next several hours and at one point I looked him in the eye and asked “where are you at, man?” and we still say that to each other because it entertains us, plus it’s a very good question.
I still haven’t learned to slow down and enjoy where I’m at, but I’m getting there. I still don’t like it when people say “it’s about the journey, not the destination” but now I can admit they’re on to something. Yesterday my husband was packing for a flight and said “I just want to get there…I hate the build up and anticipation.” He has to deal with airport security and a long flight, plus getting to the hotel and all that crap, so it makes sense in his case. But I live that way everyday.
In sobriety, it is getting easier to notice when I clench my jaw in anticipation of stress and remind myself that I should just focus on the moment, which is smaller and more beautiful than anything I could possibly imagine. It took me a long time to get here (close to a year?) and it’s a promising first step to becoming the laid back person I used to be and miss very much. I feel like I self-medicated stress with drinking and skipped the part about developing coping skills.
I don’t really know what coping skills are yet, but I like the sound of them. I suspect I’ve been developing peripheral ones in the way of exercising regularly and journaling some of my angst. I have become infinitely more patient with my children in the last six months, so something good is happening. There are other coping skills I still need to harvest, and right now I feel I am on the right path (ok, journey).
* Lest you think I’m recommending recreational use of psychedelics, which already taste like formaldehyde, I will also point out that I spent the last hour of that trip washing my face and hair in the shower after I made the mistake of looking in the bathroom mirror. Maybe it was just me, but I could never look myself in the eye when I tripped.