While I was on vacation, I was mostly “off the grid” meaning that I had neither phone nor Internet reception. I did discover, however, that I missed my writing time immeasurably. So I ended up going into town a couple of times during the week to blog from the public library computers. I was allowed an hour’s access each day, which was enough to write a post, without proofreading, and to check my email.

A few days ago, I noted an email from one of the professors at my Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was an invitation to a party, which was primarily a retirement party for my doctoral adviser, Joe Lowman, but also a reunion of sorts for former graduate students. The date for the event is October 25th. I live a considerable distance from North Carolina. It’s on the other side of the U.S. from me.

My first thought was, “Oh too bad that I can’t go to that.” John said, “You should go!” I told him that it would be too expensive in terms of money and time away from work. He reiterated his support.

Today, I started looking at frequent flier fares. I don’t fly a lot but I have one of those credit cards that earns frequent flier miles. I looked up my miles. I had over 100,000! Then I looked up the fares to NC. There was only one outgoing flight for which I could use my miles. It wasn’t a lot of miles or money but it was only one flight. I also saw that I had 24 hours to cancel it without penalty. So I booked the flight from Seattle to Raleigh, NC and back again. It cost a third of my miles plus $36.

I am typically loathe to make plans so quickly. Also, my work schedule usually makes this impossible. However, October is very slow for my practice. I complained all last October about this. “Whaaaaaah! Whaaaaaaah! Whaaaaah! Where is all of the business? Nobody loves me!”

After this, it got busy as Hell. There is a seasonality to my work.

I often say that one can have time or money, but not both. This seemed like an opportunity to have time, spend minimal money (I have lots of friends who would house me for free), and reconnect with people who were and are very important to me.

But people, I don’t usually work this fast. I need time to PREPARE for my trips. There are plans to be made! There are mental preparations!

Then I remembered. My original doctoral adviser, retired early and then died a few years later, from breast cancer. I never saw her again after she retired. You know how kids love their teachers? I loved Betty Gordon. I really did. She was wonderful, a really wonderful person, teacher, researcher, and psychologist. After she retired, I asked Joe to be my adviser. He agreed. I was initially leery since I did not know him well as a research adviser. He was excellent. And as a person, Joe is the person we all want to be when we grow up! He is very energetic, a life long learner. When I was at UNC, he decided after 30 years to take up the tuba again. He actually marched in the university marching band for  a year! And on University Day, Joe, who also had a dramatic flair, dressed as Sigmund Freud.

I have passed by opportunities before because they seemed too fast. When an opportunity comes up quickly, it seems like it is “cheating” to take it. Like it is undeserved.

This time I thought, “Why not? When will I get this opportunity again? I haven’t been back to Chapel Hill in ages.”

So I am going.