My regular readers will know this but for those just stopping by for the first time, let me set the stage; I’m leaving for Ireland today. A whole week. Just me and my computer. You can read about why I’m going, here. Then you’ll be all caught up!
July 8th, 2013
As I sit here awaiting my outbound flight, the beauty of what a gift this trip is does not escape me. I don’t have any idea what’s in store but I know that this kind of thing doesn’t come along very often. As a mother of four, the idea of a whole week where I’m responsible only for myself is…well…unbelievable. And as a writer, I have certainly never had a whole week at my disposal to write whenever the fancy strikes me.
Yet, I think about all the possibilities for the week and I have to force myself not to be stressed out. I know that sounds weird. I’m going, by myself, to a charming B&B with no schedule at all. How stressful can that be? The trip itself isn’t stressing me at all. It’s my expectations that are stressing me.
I think things like, “With a whole week you had better get a ton of writing done!” Or, “Make sure you get all the information you might need for your next book.” Or, “You have to get to all the places you want to see…don’t miss anything.” Or, “You should take this time to connect with God, reading your Bible every day.”
All of those things are good things. But it reminds me of when my kiddos were babies. I would put them down for a nap and you would think that would make me relaxed but it was the opposite. There were so many options of what I could do, I got paralyzed and didn’t get much of anything done. It’s a fear of wasting my time and opportunities. A week will go by so fast! What if I don’t make the most of it??
All that comes from the scattered side of my brain. But the other side is much more rational. I’m thankful I have that rational side…even if it’s only just a sliver of my brain. Because it’s telling me to chill out and enjoy the journey…literally. If I don’t write a single chapter…if I don’t see a single land-mark…nothing is wasted. Because I’m going to take it a day at a time and just let it be what it is. I’m going to breathe the Irish air (which my grandma assures me is just different than the air here in the U.S.). I’m going to chat with some fun people. And if that’s all I do, so be it!
My rational side…I’ll call that sliver of brain Henry, cuz Henry seems like a rational name. So, Henry tells me not to have any expectations at all. That way, everything will be a plus! All I’m going to do right now is say a prayer of thanks for the beautiful gift that this week is. Then I’m going to pull out a book and read for the fun of it.
I would tell you I’ll write every day and have pictures and blog posts up as a travelogue, but I can’t promise I’ll write at all. Cuz Henry has forbidden me to make any promises.
UPDATE: This post was brought to you by a long delay in my flight. I’ve now found out that I may not make my international connection. The adventure has begun. I have no idea when I’ll actually get to Ireland! But I’m not gonna stress, remember?
UPDATE 2: I ended up missing my international flight by five minutes, due to three delays getting out of Buffalo, on Delta. I had a lovely NYC adventure at midnight. I may write about that some day. But by the next evening I was finally on my way to Ireland!