“What’s wrong with going on a cruise?” I asked. It was my mother’s favorite way to vacation, and she was inviting her daughter and son-in-law to go along.
“It’s conspicuous consumption,” answered the left-wing, anti-establishment, neo-hippie, who was still my husband at the time. “You’re just spending a lot of money because you can, when there are people starving in the world.”
“It’s not a lot of money. First off, we’re being invited, and second, my mother’s getting a pretty serious discount from her travel agent friend.”
“No,” he insisted. We continued to go back and forth until he ended the argument by telling me it wasn’t the end of the world; I’d have many more opportunities to go on a cruise with my mother. He was wrong.
Tomorrow marks the end of my forty-fifth year on this planet, and to this day, I feel guilty if I spend money on myself for something I don’t need. The only exception to that is buying a good meal on date night with my honey. Today, I decided it’s time to get over that. Sometimes there aren’t many more opportunities to do something that you really want to do, something that you know would make you happy. Missing my mother, particularly around a holiday or a birthday, inevitably leads me to two thoughts: tomorrow isn’t promised to me; and there’s never enough time.
I was thinking the latter on the way home from kung fu tonight. Though my right arm – the one that has to spin the staff and the sword – is now requiring a certain amount of finesse to raise it to shoulder level or higher, and my left knee cramped up tonight in a completely unfamiliar way, I still wanted more practice time. I always have to get home before school closes, and even if there were no family members waiting, the morning alarm clock would still be calling me home for food, shower and at least five hours of sleep before the wake-up call sounds. My dream day, without getting on an overseas flight, would include being able to do kung fu until I’m done, until I actually want to stop. I suspect that to bring that to fruition would require owning my own school; so it will have to remain a dream. Meanwhile, I can stop wasting time and denying myself slices of happy for fear of being considered irresponsible, or, perhaps, a conspicuous consumer.
Today, I reserved a room and bought tickets to Fort Lauderdale. Barring something unforeseen and out of my control, I’m going to the “Winter Classic” kung fu tournament. This is the last year that my age puts me in what should be a fair-sized group of competitors. Next year, at the ripe old age of forty-six, I will be in the senior citizens group, one with so few competitors that they put the men and women together to assure an opponent.
So this is the best year left for me to see what kind of kung fu stuff I’m made of. I should go to as many tournaments as I can reasonably afford. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do!