Pondering the Pavement

June 3, 2014

A Getaway is a Great Way to Stay

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

It’s always nice to get away, isn’t it? It doesn’t really matter if it’s a short day trip, a weekend getaway or a full-blown two-week romp. Just having a chance to run away from it all to recharge the batteries is a blessing, a gift and, frankly, a bright shiny gold key to some resemblance of sanity. Where do you go to recollect yourself? Do you prefer to lounge on the beach with your toes burrowed into the granular mounds of sand separating you from the sprawling ocean before you? Maybe you’re solace is found on the wooden porch of a cabin high in the mountains as you look out over a sentry of trees staring silently back at you. Whether it is the hustle bustle of Vegas, a day at Disneyland, or a few hours visiting with your grandmother—each and every one of us needs to get the heck outta Dodge from time to time.

ImageI was fortunate enough to spend Memorial Day weekend in sunny San Diego. I was attending The National Cartoonists’ Society annual Reuben Award weekend. The Reuben, in case you’re wondering, is the cartooning equivalent of the Oscar. The only difference between the two is that no one really cares about the Reuben. In reality, it’s a great excuse to spend time with fellow ink-slingers. Cartooning is, for the most part, a fiercely isolated profession — as if being a medium fills one’s social calendar! This is nearly the only time we get to see one another—or anyone else for the most part—so we take full advantage of the opportunity. We spend hours hunched over a drawing table with nothing but the continual clicking of the deadline clock echoing inside our heads. So, getting the chance to actually talk to someone else is nothing short of euphoric. The most intimate relationship I have is the weekly drop off by my close personal friend, Whats-Her-Face, the FedEx girl. Yeah, we’re close.

I always have a great time at these yearly events but there was something special about this go-around. I completely let loose (now there’s a scary thought!) and had more than my quota of fun and frivolity. As odd as it sounds, I was completely stunned at this fact. Normally, I am one to socialize a bit, hibernate a bit, socialize a bit, hibernate a bit, and so on. This time, however, the hibernation was deeply dwarfed by the socializing. This character was totally out of character. After a day-and-a-half I realized that I had been in dire need of this vacation and I hadn’t even realized it.

It’s a tad alarming when you suddenly recognize how out of touch you are with yourself. After all, you’re with you 24/7. You really cannot escape it no matter how hard you try. But, yet, we tend to let ourselves slip by as we continually pile the daily duties and responsibilities higher and higher until we cannot see around them. We’re blinded by them. What happens next? We accept the limited view that we’ve invited into being as our only reality. I often envision myself as the guy on Sesame Street carrying an armload of pastries announcing, at the top of a long flight of stairs, “Ten banana cream pies!” And then, unable to see where he is going, he falls down the mountain of steps leaving a funny trail of meringue and crust along the way. As a friend of mine used to say, “I’m hopelessly lost but making damn good time.”

This point was driven home on my last night in San Diego. Our farewell soiree took place aboard the USS Midway. I have no clue who thought it would be perfectly safe to entrust a battleship to a bunch of overgrown adolescents, but that’s beside the point. As I was walking aboard the massive vessel I told my Guides that I would be totally open to any Spirit Communication that there may be aboard. After all, I was walking onto a virtual piece of history! You just KNOW there are many impressions out and about on the sprawling decks. Spirit, as always, had a different agenda. My request was answered with a resonating “NO.”

Admittedly, I was shocked at their response. Before I could question the reply I was told, “Just go and have FUN!” And, as God is my witness, They left. Every last one of ‘em (and you know that took some time!) I wasn’t there as a medium. I was there as a cartoonist, with my fellow brethren, left to my own devices. Not being one to disappoint my entourage too often—at least I hope I don’t!—I continued relaxing, laughing and just having a grand old time.

Yes, it IS good to get away. It’s even better when you’re able to realize just how vital any form of rejuvenation really is. Life is life, pure and simple. Responsibilities and that thing they call reality will be with us for the long haul. But we need to take the time to listen to ourselves, our souls, and understand when it needs a break from it all. It doesn’t matter if it’s five days or five minutes, but you have to take the time to treat yourself. A meal, a trip, a walk to your favorite park. Indulge in that personal “me time”. And if you’re thinking that you have no idea what your “me time” is then that, my friend, is a cast-iron giveaway of just how badly you need it. Body and Spirit both need a time-out.

“Time is precious, just as you are. Both need to be respected, cultivated, cared for and fully realized. Precious moments connect one by one to create a lifetime. How sad it would be to have breaks and stops through this pathway, this life, that are not required. Enjoy this journey, this purpose, this time. Be good to yourself at all times so that being good to others shall come more readily, more easily, more naturally.” – Laura


Copyright © 2014, Charles A. Filius

Photo above: One less item on my Bucket List: “Get Bunny-Eared by Weird Al. Check.”

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