One of the things that used to be great about vacations seemed to be the ability to “let go” of yourself in many ways. After all, most of the people around you in this faraway land are either locals whom you’ll never see again, or travelers from other distant lands, also looking to get away from the routine of their lives for a bit.
Sure, you’re expected to be cordial. Practice an adequate level of hygiene that says “you can sit next to me”, but not quite “you’d desire to sit next to me”. And what you wear? Who cares. As long as it covers you legally, and you feel comfortable in it.
I remember coming to Disney World when I was a kid. Gaudy clothes, fanny packs, bad bed head, and mismatched socks seemed to be the “I’m on vacation” uniform. Perhaps it’s an unfair statement to make, reminiscing as if those were the “good old days”, when actually it’s quite possible that the images I remember WERE actually the style of the day.
But as I’ve walked around the crowds of people, with each individual seemingly walking as if the world was created for THEM, (never mind other people and strollers, and 3 year olds walking, thank you very much) I’ve noticed a notable difference. PEOPLE SEEM TO CARE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. Seriously. WAAAAAY too much. You’ve paid way too much money to walk around staring at fictional cartoon characters, the popularity of which goes up with how silly they talk and how many talking inanimate objects their movie contains. And you’re still going to try and act tough/sultry (not sure what “sultry” means really, but couldn’t think of a good female version of acting “tough”).
Meanwhile I’ve got a pretty good shiny patch of drool on my shoulder, courtesy of Ruby. I’ve got an even shinier and hardening patch of snot and something else, courtesy of Sophie. At any given moment, I can be seen making a pretty ridiculous facial expression, courtesy of Addison.
All of that to say, I think more people need to experience being a parent. Not simply “having kids”. But actual parenting that becomes a practice in letting go of self. Not in a way that I become nothing, but in a way that my meaning and worth come from somewhere other than me, and what advertisers have conditioned/sold me on.
Now if only I could remember all this in the moment….:)