In June of 2015, I discovered my passport was missing. This was only a minor annoyance. It wasn’t as if I had a trip planned.
I half-heartedly tried to find it. It had one stamp and very little sentimental value, but I figured I should at least try. When was the last time I saw it? It wasn’t April of 2014, because I didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t September of 2013, or August of 2012, or February of 2011. The last time I could say for certain I saw it was May of 2009. I used it during a background investigation. Not for a trip.
I looked, off and on, for about a week before I shrugged my shoulders and wrote it off as gone forever. Oh, well. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Sometimes, after the kids are in bed, I pull up the American Airlines Advantage website and play around with spending miles. How many miles would it take to go to Istanbul? To Paris? To Rome? I have a lot of miles. I could go almost anywhere.
But I don’t.
I have reasons, good reasons. Doesn’t everybody? I have a full-time job and a side hustle that requires me to write until my hands cramp. (So why did I start a blog on top of that? There might be something wrong with me.) Until this very month, I was a solo parent to two young children, so I couldn’t just drop everything and flee the country. But now their dad has requested more time with them, which means I suddenly have time for…something. I’m not sure what.
In less than 30 days, 2016 will be a thing of the past. I pull out a fresh calendar and mark it up. These are the days my girls are in school, these are the weekends with dad, these are the days they are with me. I make space for taking them to the Great Smokey Mountains, even though the fires might mean a change of plans. We’re going to Assateague for a Mother’s Day camping trip. I block off a weekend to learn how to ski, and another for an outdoor climbing trip. Can we swing a trip to Utah? I put it on the calendar and make a savings account for it.
If you don’t plan for it, you won’t go. I know this because for years I did not go.
So I mark up the calendar. I set up a recurring withdrawal from my pay check to a savings account.
And today I applied for a new passport.