Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vacation Revelation

New experiences are great educators. Often, our greatest lessons are about ourselves and can be found in the ways we react to these experiences - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are a few things that I have learned about myself on this trip. This is not to say that my way is better or worse than anyone else's, they're just mine!

Watch the Clock - I am a very schedule driven person. I also take my word seriously, particularly when I know others are depending on me. I have always known that my preference is to be on time or even a little early if I can help it. I absolutely despise being late anywhere. I have come to realize that I also take the word of others seriously. If a plan is made and it is not then observed, I can get uncomfortable or even upset. I'm not good at being spontaneous. Sometimes I wish I were. But for now I work on a plan and a schedule.

Change it Up - I don't consider myself to be an exceptionally adventurous person. I'm certainly a creature of habit and find comfort in familiar surroundings. But when I change things up, I like to go all out whenever possible. I have heard several people tell me that whenever they travel they try to make it a rule to not go to places they have access to at home. And I really saw the wisdom in that. I'm not going out of my way to totally immerse myself in a new place and sometimes I really crave something of home, but I feel like the farther you go from home the more you should want out of the experience. This primarily applies to dining, but also to shopping and entertainment at times. I may still eat familiar foods, but for the most part try to go to a restaurant where I don't know the menu by heart! I like familiar brands, but want to hit stores that aren't as easily accessible to me if I'm shopping. And I'm all for watching a familiar movie one night on TV, but I'm not going to go out of my way when there are other things I could be doing with that time!

Balance is Best - Everyone enjoys different things and has different priorities for their ideal vacation. Some people like to relax, some like to be more active. And in general there is room for all of this. But it's important to ask who wants what. I'm not the best at this and I need to be better. I know what I want and will do anything to get it. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to get your own way is to compromise. This is probably the biggest challenge to most group activities - people either roll over or won't budge. And because compromise is a two-way (or sometimes a three, four, or more way) street, it takes tremendous participation and often a little determination as well.

Don't Torment the Caged Animal - I need a certain amount of freedom. Whether it's frequent stretch breaks while driving or the chance to get out into the world after about 24 hours of no outside stimulation, if I don't get a break I get very crabby. And it doesn't take much to make me mad or upset. This also means that, the longer vacation goes on, the easier it is to push my buttons and the less likely I am to laugh it off. I do hold grudges longer than I should and some of my strongest have been known to come from long vacations!

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