the good place


I turned 36 last week. Yuck. It’s hard sometimes to not measure the value of a life only in comparison to its context – do I have children and a dog and a home and a savings account? No, but I do have the freedom to travel wherever I want most Aprils (or most anymonths, to be honest), which I did. New Mexico this time, with a day trip into Arizona. An adventure!

I was never able to find my name on tiny novelty license plates during childhood vacations, but there it was, on a calavera at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Better? Surely.

We ended up in Santa Fe because I am a dummy and got tickets on flights that came in hours and hours and hours before hotel check-in and I am nothing if not a person who finds at least one museum during every trip I take. I neither like nor dislike flying, but that museum and the drive back to ABQ were just about all I could take after a day of travel. I went to bed at 6, feeling very much Too Old.

Speaking of things and people feeling very old –

It’s hard to explain the way I felt about Petrified Forest National Park. It was a lot of me wandering around every time we stopped to look at a new rock and going “huh?” because I was struggling to find the words to match my thoughts. Old. Everything is old. Hills? Canyons? Mineral deposits? Old.

Trees? Ancient rivers?


White Sands was different. Amazing in its own way, and I kept expecting to end up oceanside because in my West Virginian head that is where sand stops.

But it wasn’t crystallized trees. It wasn’t Newspaper Rock.

Coming home was awful. Returning to work was worse. Lately I’ve been waking up to a nearly inescapable feeling of dread at the thought of pulling myself out of bed to go to the office, and this small birthday trip has made it even more difficult. Sit at a desk? Now? No thank you, please.