Ever plan for a trip and get really excited about how it's going to be the much-needed break you've been wanting from the rut of your domestic life? Yet when you approach the date of your trip, you feel a tug of anxiety and fear pulling at you like a nagging fly attracted to your scent? “What ifs” creep in as you’re packing your suitcase or curled up in your comfy, familiar bed the night before you venture out into the world. Makes you wonder, “Why did I say yes to going in the first place?”
In spite of my adventuresome spirit and desire to explore the planet I love, I find myself wrestling with those “what ifs” every time I am on the precipice of a trip. The human attachment to the people and “things” in my life become more prevalent and stronger the closer I am to actually leaving my home. It makes it really hard for me to cut the ties of familiarity, and the very things I've wanted to take a break from. It's really very perplexing and extremely frustrating to say the least.
My recent trip to Dallas, Texas for my company's convention brought up all those feelings for me...again. The trip was planned that we (my husband and I) would do a road trip with our 15-year-old son and explore parts of the country that we haven't seen yet. This has always been our desire ever since our kid came into the world. Let people, culture, and the community teach him instead of a textbook. I get very excited about planning these trips, and all the amazing-ness we are going to encounter. But every time we pack up our bags and hit the road, I go through the same tug-o-war. The trip to Dallas was no exception. What if the power goes out and our freezer defrosts? What if a fire starts in the house? What if a tree falls on the house while we're gone? What if something happens on the road? What if we get stranded on the side of the road? What if...we get into an accident, we run out of money, we fight, we don't have a good time, and the ultimate: What if we never come back? I feel like I'm stepping off the side of cliff into a free fall. Frankly, it's a joy-kill.
I've noticed that this feeling become more prevalent over time. Some say it's from having a kid; as a mom, you take on a lot of worry. Regardless, I've had to learn to make friends with my pre-trip demons, because they show up uninvited and I need help to keep from self-destructing, or better yet, never leaving home. I've found that I have to take steps in diffusing the scary mind-chatter. Like when I'm packing my bags or lying in bed on the eve before our departure and my heart starts to race, I'll launch into telling my husband my “what ifs” so they don't sit hidden in my psyche eating away at my solar plexus. Ironically, I find out he's got a few of his own, but not the free-fall kind, and it doesn't take away from his excitement.
My hubby knows to remind me “home is me, not my stuff...trust.” It sounds like an empty statement at the time because, well...fear. But I know the depth of what he's saying and I'll ask him to keep talking about the fun we are going to have. It helps. I'll call my sister in Florida and tell her my "what ifs" too, and my frustration around it. She's the best at seeing me. First she listens, REALLY listens, without fixing it, then she validates my feelings and relates to my situation so I don't feel so alone, then she'll reach across the phone and hug me like a soft blanket, letting me know she's "on call" if I need her. I love my sis. Everyone should have a sister like her. I'll also pack my special, “what makes me feel good” items like my essential oils, my pillow, my food, and my music all in an attempt to keep me grounded.
Here’s the crux of the thing though, once I'm out of my home, meeting people, learning the latest ideas on culture and the evolving world, absorbing inspiration on life and living on the edge, playing “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader” game with my family on the trip, having long philosophical conversations with my kid about “why we're here on this planet,” connecting with my team at convention, waking up in a room on the sixth floor of a resort hotel overlooking a beautiful lake, enjoying the rolling hills of Virginia, stopping at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee and being floored by the magnitude of influence one man like Martin Luther King Jr. can have on a culture, feeling the soul of Memphis’s Beale Street where music is pouring out onto the street, long conversations with my husband and dreaming about our future, I realize I'm in my grid, my wheelhouse, I feel my full self like never before and I can't imagine why I would ever second-guess leaving my home in the first place.
The common theme of this perpetual duality of my embarkations is that on the other side of a great big, ugly, fear monster, is an even greater force, an awesome life experience waiting to happen. And although I know this to be true EVERY time I pack for a trip, it seems I'm always first in line to learn this vital lesson. I'm grateful for my leadership spirit and the desire to lead my family and tribe in fulfilling their dreams. But I'm also grateful for my weaknesses, and learning how to ask for help when I need it, be led when it gets a little too dark, and then surround myself with the support I need. Because once I step off the cliff and release into my free-fall, my wings spread and a whole new world of endless possibilities has presented itself to me. Once I've taken flight, I'm free! Then I'm faced with a whole new set of challenges...“Is it time to go home already?”