My wife and I recently returned from a cruise to celebrate our 34th anniversary. It really wasn’t a celebration. It was more of an extreme bargain for a five night cruise when we really needed a break, which coincidentally fell on our special day. Incidentally, there is no specific gift for the 34th Anniversary. I was surprised to find that after the 15th, the special gifts pop up only every five years. I figure by now, that Hallmark or somebody would have filled in the rest; something like, 32nd – Origami, 33rd – Animal pelts, 34th – Inert gases. You get the idea. The 35th, however, is coral or jade, so I was just a bit early.
We hadn’t been on a cruise for four years which is a long break for us. It was barely more expensive than staying home for the Labor Day weekend and going out to dinner twice and seeing a movie. We were on the Empress of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship. It is a smaller and older ship that the line had sold, but recently reacquired to be used for travel to Cuba once that opportunity becomes available. For now, the Empress is used for four and five day cruises out of Miami to ports in Key West and Cozumel. With the threat of the Zika virus, we weren’t even sure that we would be leaving the ship.
For the first day and a half, I found myself comparing the experience to that of our last cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, also a Royal Caribbean vessel. The capacity of the Empress is 1840 passengers, while the Oasis holds 5400. The Oasis has 21 swimming pools compared to 4 on the Empress (including 3 hot tubs). After listening to me make one comparison after another, my wife pointed out to me that I had become jaded.
Me? Jaded? Was that even possible? This would mean that I was tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm. So far that seemed about right. But also, it meant that this behavior was based upon having too much of something. I always thought that being jaded was the purview of the idle rich and privileged. There certainly was no silver spoon in my mouth. I decided to reflect on that previous trip and the intervening four years.
The trip on the Oasis was about as good as a vacation could be. We traveled with friends and had an absolute blast. The ship was relatively new and was a marvel. Unfortunately, a few weeks after the trip, I lost my job of 29 years and we had to drastically adjust our lifestyle. Still, we have had many blessings including health, happiness, and achievement for not only my wife and me, but our children as well.
It seems as though even being jaded has worked out for us. It reminded me to count my blessings. With a new attitude, I jumped back into life. We took an unexpected excursion in Cozumel with new friends that we met on the ship. We had a great time and created new memories that were hopefully good enough to be jaded about on our next cruise.