Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Adventures: Not something you can control or plan for, just something for you to enjoy.

Something I need to work on remembering is that I take on a lot of my stress by choice. I don't have to do all of this stuff. Most people don't expect me to be able to do all of this stuff. 95% of my to-do list is completely unimportant, except to me.

I was staggering under the weight of all ten million things in my life, but I realized something one night when I was up baking:

If I should screw up and drop all of the things that I'm carrying, I can pick them back up again.

It's no big deal.

There are people (strangers, even) who will help me. My husband does not mind picking up my slack in the same way that I sometimes pick up his when he needs me. My kids will get over the temporary disruption in their scheduled meal plan. My family and friends should understand, but if they don't? That's not my problem.

When I get upset and I'm having a rough time, I forget that we are adventuring. Not playing it safe. Not having it all under control. Not living in our comfort zone. Adventures aren't planned and perfect, black and white, cut and tried. Adventures don't have itineraries.

The point of adventuring is experiencing the surprises of uncharted territory.  Sometimes part of that experience is crashing and burning. Sometimes part of that experience is shrugging your shoulders when you screw up and still having the strength to try again.

I have learned this lesson before. I've learned it the hard way.

There were so many times when I was licked by something, and I didn't bother to get back up and try again. And do you know something about those times? Those times sucked. Those are all the worst parts of my life. Not because I screwed up or failed, but because I was content to screw up and fail. Almost every moment of my life that I'm embarrassed about is a point when things went south and I just gave up. I let inertia pin me to the couch with pints of ice cream and apathy.

This winter has been a struggle for me for reasons I can't put my finger on. I truthfully don't know why I've been having such a hard time. I really realized how much I was struggling while I was up making chocolate chip cookies, so I made a decision:

I was going to get back up and continue adventuring. I didn't need another time in my life ruled by sweatpants and laziness. I made a decision to actively change the direction I was heading. So I booked tickets. I boarded a plane. I rented a car. I drove 2 hours to the coast with the kids. I wanted to go see my mom for her birthday, so I did it.

Goodbye couch. Hello adventure.

En route to the airport, I flipped out. I admit it. I wasn't sure I could do it. Flying with two kids on your own is rough. When I walked down the gangway to board the plane, I had to keep telling myself a version of Home Depot's slogan:

I can do it, they can help.
I can do it, they can help.
I can do it, they can help.

And you know what? People did help. Strangers became babysitters and entertainers and bell hops for me. I navigated through the airport with two car seats, a suitcase, a diaper bag, and a stroller. Some people laughed a little, but do you know what most people said to me? They said,

"You're doing a good job."

They were right. I was doing a good job. I am doing a good job. I did something hard and it paid off. We all made it there. We all made it back. We've got one more story to tell, and it's a good one.

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