When I saw that Les Miserables was coming out as a movie, I was so excited to see it. I had read the book years ago and did a term paper on Jean Valjean as part of my senior lit minor in college. And years before that, I saw it on Broadway when I was a freshmen in high school.
I hadn’t really thought about that trip in a long time.
The traveling chorus at my high school was taking a trip to NYC to see a few shows over the course of a few days. I was not a part of the chorus because ohmygod I cannot sing. But the chorus director needed to fill a few more seats on the bus and so he opened it up to those of us who were in the gifted program(I guess he figured nerds don’t cause trouble or something).
When I heard about it, I immediately knew I wanted to go. New York City, where I’d never been. Broadway shows. A trip away. Sign me up.
Yes, sign me up without me having a clue who else was going. I didn’t care- I wanted to go anyway.
I had no clue who else was going until I walked onto the bus for the trip.
Even then, I had no real clue who any of those people were.
But I didn’t care.
I had some books and didn’t mind quietly watching the scenery flash by on our drive.
I was put into a room with two girls whom I didn’t know.
I didn’t mind.
I didn’t make friends on the trip.
But I got to experience something pretty fabulous.
I can still remember the feeling of awe as I watched Les Miserables and cried my way through it, not caring about the looks I was given by those who were around me. I can remember elbowing the girl beside me who fell asleep during the show and telling her I couldn’t believe she would miss this. Even though I didn’t even know her name.
I remember walking around New York City and taking in the sights- including getting to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I think I can still feel that dizzy sensation from climbing the spiral staircases to the top. Taking it all in and being glad that I had a new experience.
Even though I was on my own. Well, on my own within a crowd of people who all had someone with them.
And I think I’ve lost some of that along the way.
That carefree attitude of finding something I want to do and not caring if I was doing it all on my own, even if everyone else would be in their own groups.
I wonder what happened to that girl.
Now, I usually try to think about who else will be somewhere I’m headed. I like knowing that there will be someone I know. Even though I do perfectly fine on my own and in fact actually need alone time no matter where I am, I still like the reassurance that I know someone who will be there.
I wonder if the girl I used to be would look at me now with disappointment, for not jumping into new adventures. I think she’d be proud that I immediately said sign me up to a yoga retreat across the country where I didn’t know anyone last summer when the opportunity came up. And it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.
So maybe I need to learn to say sign me up to more adventures so I can stop wondering what happened to that girl and just be her again.
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