For approximately 30 years, give or take, I've secretly and not-so-secretly begrudged my brother's zest for life. At any given moment, at the drop of a hat, at the whim of an off-hand remark, he might find himself following Tiger Woods during the US Open at Bethpage Black, or sitting in a sponsor box at Heinz Field during an NFL playoff game, or being handed the keys to a four bedroom cottage at the world-famous Greenbrier Resort for an absurd nightly rate of $99.
He's one of the luckiest human beings I know.
Opportunities of a lifetime knock on his door with such regularity, they've been given their own key. It's impossible to make plans with him because he never wants to turn his back on the possibility of a better offer finding its way to him. And that's not even remotely arrogance talking; far from it. It's experience talking. It happens to him.
ALL THE TIME.
And while I have a pretty heady history of amazing opportunities and fantastical adventures, including the celebrated and quite numerous solo Jennyventures, the grass is always greener on the paths your siblings feet. At least when it comes to the adventures they take.
So, yes. I've been known to roll my eyes when he's landed 10th row seats at Fleetwood Mac for the price of a tank of gas. And yes, I've been known to mutter under my breath when he took advantage of a trip to a Monday night football game that included a steak dinner at Morton's - none of which cost him a dime. And yes, I might have grumbled the entire time we watched the Grammy's that one year when he and my sister-in-law won an all expenses paid trip to attend!
He leads a charmed life.
I've resented it at times.
Irrational. And yet, also true.
But that's all about to end.
Because tomorrow, I will be the sidekick for his next adventure. And not only that, this time, it's me who is the recipient of a stroke of luck that will enable me to mark a long dreamed of item off of my life's bucket list courtesy of a free ticket to see U2 in Chicago on Sunday night.
I am still in shock. And I confess I spent the vast majority of today wrestling with whatever it is in my brain that makes me doubt my worthiness to just do it. I just left my paying job. I have plans for the weekend. I have appointments on Monday. I'm leaving for an extra-long weekend in Kentucky Tuesday night.
I called my daughter. What's wrong with me? Should I do it?
It's 7 1/2 hours in the car. Twice. It's hotel and food and booze expense. My husband says he has no desire to go and that he absolutely thinks I should - but is that real? I can't do it. It wouldn't be responsible. It would be frivolous. It would be selfish.
GO, she said. You should totally GO.
Ack. What is wrong with me?
It's an up and back trip to an amazing city on a crazy bonding brother-sister road trip to see a band we have both loved since the Joshua Tree album. It's a chance to see my brother's charmed life from the inside out. It's a chance to take Jennyventuring to the next level. It's ... an opportunity of a lifetime.
I'm taking it.
I rescheduled my appointments. I tied up loose ends. I made my husband tell me to go one more time, with feeling. I'm putting all my (self-)doubts aside, taking several deep breaths, packing light and...I'm doing it.
This time tomorrow, we'll be rolling into the Windy City, ready for anything.
The canvas is blank.
Let the painting begin.
*Title quote courtesy of Danny Kaye.