Life or Something Like It
The trip to the homeland, part deux
Published Thursday, 25-Dec-2008 in issue 1096
After my trip to the Garden State in October, the ex and I decided I’d come back in December for a stay that would span more than 42 hours.
A second trip to the East Coast would be a fact-finding mission of sorts; an opportunity for us to see each other and spend time together after all the dust had settled. And it would give us some time to figure out whether we actually had anything to figure out.
After I booked the trip, though, my host-with-the-most pulled a disappearing act. E-mails went unreturned, phone calls were unanswered, and on the Tuesday before my trip I realized the vacation was becoming less something I was looking forward to and more something I needed to deal with.
I admit I was caught off guard and taken aback by all this, particularly considering what transpired the last time we saw each other. But, simultaneously, his MIA status had become familiar territory for me. His teeter tottering is ultimately what lead to our split in 2001. Now, with my trip looming, it had become increasingly evident he hadn’t grown out of his behavior. I had to make a decision.
Forty-eight hours before my flight, I called a friend from high school to arrange to be picked up at the airport. Then, I e-mailed my ex to let him know my plans (and life) no longer included him.
As I glanced over the e-mail I typed to him, I knew once I clicked “send” there was no going back. I knew it was something I needed to do, and by the time it was something I wanted to do – but it was nonetheless a tough pill to swallow
I sent the e-mail. When I did, I felt oddly empowered – like Oprah.
Once I’d ended things with the ex, I began trying to salvage my trip.
There are just as many people out there who value you as much as you do them, and those are the friendships worth holding onto.
Of course I could have opted to stay home, but this Jersey girl wasn’t going to let that Pennsylvania import ruin her good time. I assembled an army of high school friends and exchanged e-mails and Facebook bulletins with numerous people. Hell or high water, fun would be had.
I was still rather spun when I landed on Thursday but equally excited to be home. One of my all-time favorite people was meeting me at Newark International, and Shannon, my best friend from high school, was going to pick me up from his place the next morning.
It couldn’t have been more perfect. I had just pulled the plug on a 12-year friendship and she had just pulled the plug on a 12-year relationship.
The next 96 hours were a fantastic blur of bar hopping in Atlantic City, dancing until the sun came up, and hanging out with people neither one of us had seen since 11th grade history class.
We had a blast, and during those four days something in me changed.
It could have been caused by the Atlantic City Police Department beanie I took from a rookie beat cop, or the gay rights conversation I had with the former leader of a local white supremacy group. Maybe it was caused by the horrifying Elvis impersonator who performed at what had become an impromptu high school reunion, or the motor home filled with 40+-year-old White Snake music video rejects that was parked on the street outside. Regardless what caused my change of heart, when it came time for me to pack my bags, I’d stopped focusing on what the trip wasn’t, but what it had become, instead.
Ultimately, life is what you make it.
Your point of view is dependent on the perspective you choose to have. Friends are the family you choose, and it’s OK to walk away from people who continuously disappoint you. Because there are just as many people out there who value you as much as you do them, and those are the friendships worth holding onto.

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