Tight Squeeze, Cool Breeze, Now You’ve Got the Goosebumps

January 10, 2013. 16:04, off the coast of Hispaniola

Land ho! To the starboard side, we spotted land.  I think it is Hispaniola, but I am honestly not sure.  They announced around noon that we would be passing between Cuba and Hispaniola sometime this afternoon, so I assume now is the time. It has been another wonderful day at sea aboard the Caribbean Princess with all 3,000 of our newest friends.

We talked about friends today. Although our opinions differ somewhat, I think we believe the same thing about friends, generally. I was an only child for nine blissful years, and I learned to entertain myself really.  My stuffed animals were my friends, as we lived too far from any other houses for most of that time, so I did not really have a lot of close friends.  Perhaps my play with stuffed animals as a child has led me to animate everything. I animate things that should never be animated, like chairs, clothes, and other weird things. Giving them a “life” makes me feel like they are my friends, to a certain degree anyway.

We were talking earlier about how we think people who have to be around other people at all times show some sort of a lack of confidence or at least a lack of self-esteem or self-worth.  Not being able to be alone even for a day or two is something I feel shows a lack of character, honestly. People who have to travel in groups, who always have to be hanging out with someone or a group of someones shows me that that person does not feel comfortable enough in his or her own skin to feel as if he or she can make it on his or her own without going with a group a d following that group. I think it is a good and bad thing that I am not a groupie. By this, I mean that there are times when I would like nothing more than to have tons of friends to go places with, but on the other hand, having tons of friends brings a whole host of issues as well.

For instance, I can go shopping for half a day all by myself. I don’t need anyone to tag along with me. I know of many people who simply feel like they have to be in a huge group of ladies, all totally down for getting the very best deal.  I want to stop when I want to stop, shop at every store I want to but not at those I don’t want to, and if I decide to have smoothie for lunch and not stop to sit down and eat, I should be able to do just that.

I remember when I first went to college. For whatever reason, traditional colleges think it is a great idea to have Rush week at the beginning of the semester, before you even get to know anyone or really have  time to find out anything about the sororities or fraternities you wish to join. Being a first-generation college student, I had no legacy or anything to go by. I had friends from high school who knew exactly what sorority they wanted  to join, either because their mother or sister had been a member or because they had friends from high school who were ahead of them and had joined that same sorority.  I really didn’t think I wanted to join one, mainly because I didn’t want to have to do things like parties and such. I wanted to enjoy my time at college, not be forced into doing what a group of people wanted me to do. I had to succeed, as I knew that college was literally my only chance to get out of my small town and move onto bigger and better things in life.

Rush came on like a freight train, with parties galore and people dressing up in sorority attire and costumes. I remember the exact moment, still 23+ years later, when I decided that I had no,actually less than no, interest in joining a sorority. I was looking out of the windows in a classroom. Across the college lawn walked the AGD’s, all dressed exactly alike in their little smocked jumpers. I thought to myself that there was no way that some else was going to thwart my escape from being told what to do and when to do it. I certainly was not going to dress like everyone else just to be part of a sorority. I also did not feel like paying to be part of a club,not knowing if those people really were my friends or if they simply pretended to like me because I paid dues that allowed them to have parties. Grades were much more important than potentially fake friends.

I dropped out of rush, and I have never ever regretted it. I am my own person, and I like who I am. This is my life, and I want to enjoy it. I did not want to be like everyone else.

On this cruise, we have enjoyed just being us, together. I know that there are other people just like us, who have enjoyed the “off the beaten path” cruise vacation. You don’t have to come on the boat, sit around the pool, and get drunk with people you don’t know. You can sit in the Piazza or in the exterior decks and just hang out. It is not a sin, and you are not missing anything that you “paid for”. You paid to have a vacation, to escape from the real world if only for a week. It is your choice how you spend that time.  Like life.

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