On Monday night, about 930pm, my husband and I made the decision to drive the four hours from Palm Springs to Las Vegas.
There were a lot of reasons we shouldn’t have gone: I’d invited a friend for lunch; I had a doctor’s appointment that I’d scheduled four months ago, and would probably take another four months to reschedule; it’s tax time, and our taxes haven’t been finished; I need to get the outline of my novel completed so I can start writing; the launch date for The Wisdom of Stones is five weeks away, and I haven’t ordered the books; our dogs didn’t have a sitter; and I had a much-needed massage appointment.
I know some of these reasons are more valid than other – I really needed a massage! But my brother and his family were just four hours away, and we hadn’t seen them in six months. Loyal reader, it’s Spring Break time, and for the past few years, we have flown my nieces and nephew to San Diego or Los Angeles or Palm Springs for a week every spring, and we’ve spent time together. But this year, with their Spring Break falling during the middle of our busiest season for vacation rental and right before the Coachella Music festival, my husband and I realized that we couldn’t afford to block out our largest property for the entire week.
It turned out to be a smart business decision. We’re renting the “big house” where my family would normally stay to a DJ from Paris. He’s performing at Coachella and will be crashing at our place for ten days.
Everything had gone according to our plan. But we regretted our decision.
We missed the family time. It’s crazy how much you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. That’s a cliché, but only because it’s so freaking true. On Sunday, my husband and I had a brief moment to relax (after we assembled a new cabana for the big house – the old one had been destroyed during the hurricane winds of the prior week). We were floating in the pool, heated to 88F. I made him a cocktail using a couple shots of Malibu rum and some chocolate and coconut popsicles the prior guests had left in the freezer. Few things are more tranquil than floating in the pool with a frozen drink, but something was niggling at us both. The moment, however relaxing, was hollow.
In all that peace, we missed the noise: the shouting as one niece chased the other around the pool with a water gun; the splash as the nephew practiced his cannon balls; the pleas from them all for Uncle LJ to make them a virgin piña colada.
So two days ago, I talked to my brother about crashing his family trip. But all I could hear was the noise in my daily life: the voices that said it wasn’t practical to drive to Vegas for just one night; the voices that said we needed to stay and work to get the houses ready; the nonstop emails from our accountant about last minute items he needed to complete our returns; the gnawing in my gut about not being where I wanted to be in the new novel and panicked about the status of my book launch for The Wisdom of Stones
But I asked myself one question: If I didn’t go, would I regret it Thursday? Would I be glad that I was caught up on my work and could have an easy time with check-ins or would I feel a huge hole in my heart because I missed out on an opportunity to be with my family, even if just for 24 hours. The answer was clear.
We dropped the dogs off at Auntie Doris’ place at 8am yesterday and drove to Las Vegas, arriving just in time to meet the family at Fashion Show Mall. We had lunch and took the girls shopping. We looked at the new MacBook Pro Touchbar computer for the niece who’s starting college in the fall, and then bought the other niece a pair of jeans and a $60 egg filled with fancy bath products. So the nephew wouldn’t feel left out, we ordered him a watch off Amazon for $78 after the woman at the mall kiosk insisted that the price of $110 that she was offering us was below her costs.
Even though it wasn’t sunny, we went to the sandy beach at the Mandalay Bay report and I talked with my brother and sister-in-law for a couple hours. After, my husband and I took our older niece who’s about to graduate high school for drinks (wine for us, a diet coke for her). Then, we all went to the world’s largest seafood buffet at the Rio All-Suites resort. After eating way too much fod, the seven of us cruised the Las Vegas strip, taking in all the neon and lights, and ended up at the Bellagio to watch the fountains in all their glory.
It’s Wednesday afternoon, and we’re swamped, running all over town trying to get four vacation rental houses in order, but the memories of the one-day trip will last a lifetime. (And in case you’re worried, I was able to reschedule the massage to Thursday morning. Crisis averted there.)
Nike’s motto is not something best left on a T-shirt. “Just Do It” should be the mantra for how we all live our lives. The battle is not to figure out how to solve all the problems before acting or overcome all the fears before doing. There’s never the perfect time. Sometimes, you just have to take that leap and then pick up the pieces. You can’t perfectly plan your life (and I’m talking to my fellow Virgos in particular here). There are some things that you’ll screw up, but you’ll have the memories of all the things that you did do.
And not the regret of all the things you did not.
Follow your passions, loyal readers. It’s the best advice you’ll ever get.