Lessons from the Nest: Go Your Own Way


I have always wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago. Well not exactly always

In 2012, we took the kids to Spain and Italy over the Thanksgiving break (the perks of work travel are all the airline and hotel points – thanks Delta and Marriott!) and while we were in Madrid I learned about the Camino de Santiago. You can walk the entire thing over a month or two or you can do shorter sections. I instantly wanted in – walking across rural Spain, an outdoor adventure with spirituality and history – what could be better! “Hubby, doesn’t that sound so amazing?”

Nope. He did not think it sounded amazing. Not at all. Not a vacation that he would pay even 5 Euros to do… An adamant NO. No budging.

Q: “Oh my goodness, you are going to walk across Spain? By yourself?”

Me: “Yes, I am. Well on a guided tour so there will be other people there. Don’t worry, it is safe…”

Q: “Didn’t your husband want to go?”

Me: “No and that’s fine. It’s not his thing, it’s mine.”

midlife intermission - camino de santiago

Early in our marriage I would have possibly been hurt or annoyed that he didn’t want to go with me. ‘Why can’t you support my dreams?’ I would have potentially used guilt or bartering to get him to go. ‘Please, please, please – We can go to that football game you’ve been dying to attend?’ It sometimes worked. But then he always ended up being right, that he actually did not like the thing I was sure he would like if he would just go along with my plan and give it a try.

So now a couple decades into this thing, I have realized that it is best for both of us to do the things together we both like and absolve the other person from the stuff in the ‘not interested’ column. This means that I no longer pretend to like watching golf, baseball, or hockey on television and he gets to stay home while I walk 70 miles across Spain next week. Everyone wins.

And today is the day I leave – on my own – to do something that I have wanted to do for five years and since I am on a sabbatical, I actually have the time to do it now instead of my original plan as a retiree trekking toward Santiago de Compostela. My husband will drop me off at the airport, remind me to be safe and enjoy every step, and he will support me completely – from Tennessee.

Today I can happily go my own way because I know the way back to our nest and he will be there to rub my sore feet and smile lovingly at my next cockamamie plan knowing he’s not on the mandatory attendee list.

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