Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Voice of Vacation

After seeing the movie Bucket List a couple of years ago, I found that I often thought about the things I wanted to do before I died. I don't know if you have given that idea any consideration, but heading up the bucket list of both my husband and myself was a trip to Europe. Like many things in our personal lives, it is our children who always seem to kick us out of our comfort zones and into action. So when our son found himself working on stage in London we booked our trip! Upon arrival I mentioned to him that I didn't want to look like a tourist and embarrass any of us, especially myself! His response was one of the most freeing things he has ever said to me. "But mom, he said, "you ARE a tourist. If you can accept that then its all okay!"

It was a humbling acceptance to freely acknowledge that I was a tourist! It occurred to me that life, generally, is a trip we are all taking. Too often, if we live our lives at all, we find ourselves in the middle of a foreign experience...whether it is an idea, a new job, a relationship...you get the idea!! I struggled to stay in my comfort zones because I was afraid of looking like a complete dope!!I found I was truly freed up once I accepted the fact that I simply did not know anything about traveling abroad. Fortunately, we were in a country that spoke the same language. But, we were nonetheless in a different culture, making transactions with different money, and learning the London tube networks (aka subways). What I have discovered is that if I simply admit to the unknown with child-like naivete then most people are very kind and gracious with my learning curve.It is when I blow the bad breath of false bravado that I meet resistance. Any misled assumption that false bravado brings, in the end, is far more embarrassing than admitting that I am a little lost and uncertain.

Our trip to London taught me a wonderful lesson about my own uncertainties in this vacation life I am on. Sometimes it seems like a working vacation, other times a fun vacation. There have been times I have been in the middle of a personal nightmare as well. As I look back and reflect on those times that were nightmarish, I have to consider the fact that most of my pain came from my fear of making a mistake. Had I been wise enough to acknowledge my uncertainty then I might have made fewer mistakes and better decisions. Our trip to London brought me to a definite conclusion. I am deciding to take myself and my life a little less seriously, knowing that not even the most brilliant minds on the planet know their way ALL of the time! We are, after all is said and done, tourists on this this blue green emerald planet we call home. 

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