Lesson #2 was “Let it go.”
I’m a person who likes to have a schedule. I’m never tardy (in fact, the Big Man and I are almost pathologically prompt; even when we try to be fashionably late, we end up places right on time).
On our trip, however, the schedule didn’t run like clockwork. Part of it was the large number of children involved (between six and ten at different times, ranging from 9 years to 18 months). Someone once told me that if you’re trying to go from place to another, add ten minutes for each additional child—which would mean that if it would take the Big Man and I together ten minutes to leave for dinner, I should leave thirty minutes. I’m not sure that this formula actually works precisely, but the presence of so many kids definitely meant that took more effort to get going.
Also, people have different notions of what it means to say, “Let’s eat at 6:30.”
I found myself getting alternately anxious and annoyed when we found ourselves running late, or we didn’t leave at the particular time we’d discussed, or when we seemed to be milling about without direction. Time zone change or not, I got panicky when I realized that both my children were still awake at 11:00 at night.
Before long, however, my happiness-project training kicked in. I told myself, “We’re not in any rush,” “We have plenty of time,” “We’re having fun.” I reminded myself of some of my Twelve Commandments: “Let it go [the strict schedule]” and “Lighten up” and “Enjoy the process.”
I realized that fussing about it wouldn’t make a difference, except to dim other people’s fun in the trip. Including my own. Once I let go of my tendency to stick to a strict schedule, I felt much happier.
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