As you may know from a previous post, I was planning on visiting the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, NY this past weekend for their Oktoberfest celebration. You’d also know I was intending on finding someone to go with, but that’s a story for another day. Let’s just talk about the Renaissance Faire for now.
I uh…I didn’t go. Or couldn’t go. There’s a bit of gray area there. Here’s what happened. I really was excited to go this weekend. My family knew I was going. I passed on a soba lunch with Emi. (Oh yeah remember my lunch ‘date‘ a couple months ago? Happy to say Emi and I are still having lunch together about every other Saturday, and I’ve even met some of her family during our last lunch together when her cousin-in-law joined us.) I had my camera attachment ready to take tons of incredible pictures of people in costume, performers, food, and the incredible natural scenery and themed buildings. I even went on the RenFaire’s website to make a list of all the foods I wanted to have and try while I was there, and another list of things I wanted to bring home for myself and my family. I stuffed my messenger bag with water bottles, a spare phone battery, and even Ziploc bags to put all the food in. But Saturday comes around and it’s gray and cloudy and there is the strong forecast of possibly intermittent showers. No problem, I figure. I’ll just go tomorrow.
Sunday was a beautiful, sunny, perfectly autumnal day. Saturday nights since I didn’t go out I decide to watch some more scary movies til 4am so Sunday morning I figure, what’s the harm in sleeping in just a little bit longer? 10am passes. I mean, there shouldn’t be any harm in resting a bit more. Noon passes. I’m sure if I quickly shower and change, with no traffic, I’ll arrive early anyways. 2pm, I finally get up, shower, make it out the door. Yay, I’m headed to the Renaissance Faire! It’s a fine, enjoyable drive into the Ramapo Mountains and Sterling Forest, and then at around 3pm, about three miles from the entrance, I hit traffic. I mean, unmoving, set up a tent and camp, traffic. There are electric traffic signs explaining that all of the RenFaire’s parking is completely full. With four hours left on the very last day of the Renaissance Faire, I start to weigh my options. About a mile back at the base of the mountain is a parking lot for hikers to use. That would be an approx. 4 mile hike both ways to get in and out of the Renaissance Faire. I already see plenty of cars making u-turns and headed in that direction. Others are staunchly waiting in their cars for some development, moving forward by inches on the minutes. I decide to wait in line with them, watching myself getting further and further from the parking lot. After waiting for about an hour and making no real promising progress, knowing there’s only three more hours before they close for the season, I make my u-turn. I’m thinking about what the walk up the mountain will be like now, and what the walk back down later will be like with a bag full of food. At the intersection, on my left, is the parking lot, where many Faire-goers have already parked and are beginning their trek up. On my right is the exit ramp to head back towards the Interstate and home.
I turned right. And I went back home.
I don’t think there is any argument denying that I was absolutely 100% interested in going this year. I had set aside the time, had made the plans, was looking forward to the sights and sounds and tastes, I was looking forward to going. And ultimately, I could list a lot of reasons why it just seems like I couldn’t go the Renaissance Faire this weekend. The risk of bad weather on Saturday. The traffic and arduous hike to go on Sunday. The limited amount of time I had left by the time I arrived had I parked and walked. But there was only one reason in my mind for why I didn’t go. At that moment, at that intersection, faced with the reality of the effort I’d have to go through to get to something or somewhere I wanted, in that empty car with just me, knowing it’d be an afternoon on my own, not having anyone else to spend that time with or to push me forward, I asked myself ‘is all this worth it just for yourself’. And I said, no.
I’ve spoken before about the fears and insecurities and self-consciousness of being alone when doing things. And in many ways I’ve conquered and overcome these things. On a regular basis I can go out and enjoy meals on my own, watch movies, plan little treats for myself, days out to enjoy all by myself, I’ve even traveled extensively on my own to great enjoyment and success. This wasn’t about fear or not wanting to be alone. I mean, I was right there. I was so close. But in a lot of ways I can’t help but wonder if maybe I was self-sabotaging myself. I could have gone on Saturday. I’ve been to the Faire in years past and some days were better than others. A few showers at worst would have meant muddy paths in some areas but nothing I couldn’t have handled. And Sunday’s problem could have easily been solved with you know, just getting up already. But I stopped myself, and all I could think about during the deliberation was just how worth it all of this trouble was going to be in the end. For myself. And I can’t help but wonder, did I not go, not because of the circumstances, but because ultimately I felt I just didn’t really measure up?
A few years back I used to date this girl who lived in Chinatown. While I was with her I think I must have been in the city almost every weekend. I was loving the food and the festivals and the endless things to do. In the winter we visited Times Square and checked out the holiday displays. I was having so much great food in Chinatown. Honestly, I was loving my time in the city and had developed quite the routine of places I loved to go, wanted to go, etc. But ever since we broke up, I think I’ve been in the city…maybe three times in the past year? I just, couldn’t find the energy or motivation to go. But there are still those places I keep saying to people ‘oh man, I really want to go to such and such restaurant, try these dishes’ or ‘I always have to visit this particular place because it’s the best and it’s a tradition’. On my own, I find it hard to want to do these things, give myself these things. Because of the extra effort it involves.
I’m not sure if its laziness, complacency, or really some sort of self-deprecating self-doubt. I’m not all of a sudden depressed or morose. It’s been little things here and there, little plans that inevitably end up being changed, postponed, or downright canceled. Missed opportunities. I feel sometimes I cheat myself out of good food, nice things, fun adventures, even my health and fitness, because I think of these things in terms of how much it might be worth in terms of only myself. This one in particular kind of shocked my system enough to warrant notice I think because well, it’s going to take a year to make up for it. Reclaim that chance, fulfill that desire. I’m going to have to wait a full year before I can give myself that turkey leg, or boar platter, or funnel cake I promised myself. And I don’t know, maybe in a year’s time I’ll have someone by my side. I know it’d be much much easier to get me to do anything with that extra motivation, extra companionship and drive. But I do feel like I cheated myself out of a good date with my own company. So maybe I’ll go at least twice next year. Take myself out for the good time I was supposed to have. I mean, if even I stand myself up, what kind of message would that be? In the meantime, I’m going to keep looking out for those opportunities to enjoy my own company with my own time. I’m going to make sure I have that energy, motivation, drive, and desire I can place into doing things with others, into doing things on my own. I do think I’m worth it. I think just like in any relationship, I’ve gotten too comfortable, too complacent, with myself. I need to keep asking more of myself. Expecting more. Giving more. In this relationship I’m both the person who wants more from the other and the person who has seemingly forgotten or neglected to do so. And it’s time to improve how well I listen.