Before I had kids I got away often. Weekends, weeks, months, even. Because that's what you do when you're single. You get in the car and drive or hop on a train or an airplane and live in London for six-months, crash on the floors of friends of friends in Paris for the summer. You buy tickets with your last five-hundred bucks and worry about the consequences later. You go out and don't come home for three days. You sleep in the car on the side of the road with seats extended back.
"Those were the days," it's so easy to say. But those weren't THE days, they were just different ones.
I recently met a guy at a bar who told me he never wanted to have kids because he never wanted to stop "moving around." He liked to travel, he said. He needed to travel. He liked to be his own person, take care of himself without feeling obligated or responsible for anyone's life but his own. He didn't want to settle down. I totally got it- some of those feelings never change. Sometimes knowing you're responsible for the well-being of little lives is so overwhelming it paralyzes. Still, his assumptions weren't entirely true.
"You can still get the hell out of dodge, you just can't do so spontaneously..."
My girlfriends and I had been planning our Vegas getaway for months, ever since my friend Dana won a gift certificate to Las Vegas at an office party. We joked about renting a convertible for weeks before we thought, "fuck it! Why don't we?" It wasn't exactly the '66 thunderbird we had in mind but close enough.
And even though it took about fifty miles for our Thelma and Louise "throw caution (and headscarves) to the wind" fantasy to become a "this sucks! my hair's a mess and I'm freezing!" reality, it was still well worth the $60 bucks a head to rent the car.
I started packing the weekend before I left. All three of us did. Twelve pairs of shoes between three girls for one night of dancing. You never know, you see. You never do know.
Six hours and three pit-stops later we landed at our suite where we unloaded bags of clothes and danced around in each other's scarves. We ordered champagne and painted our nails against the backs of magazines with ipod's shuffling. Did each other's makeup, hair.
We talked about our past experiences in Vegas, about exes and sexes, about the various Palm Springs adventures that Dani and Dana had taken over the past few months - rented houses for pool parties with friends, the trip Dana would be taking the following weekend. All their non-parent non-married-life stories of wild weekends and travel and rocking-out-life-career-kick-ass-awesome.
In the past I would have been jealous, quietly envious of their adventures and having to miss out on them. But not this time. Last weekend was totally enough and I enjoyed the hell out of every minute of our time together; hitting the sheets at 5am, smoke damaged, still vibrating from the "unce-unce" of the dance floor, our voices hoarse from screaming "Tiny Dancer" into the microphone of the Karaoke dive we crashed after-hours, my grilled-cheese breakfast at 2pm, the drive...
Not twenty-four hours after arriving in Vegas, we turned around, headed home, and as we did I thought back to the dude at the bar and how there was a time, when like him, I would have been sad to go home.
I don't feel that way at all anymore.
Not even close.
Sequined pants are an occasional must. So are convertibles. And old friends willing to plan new trips two months in advance.