I have spent the last 9 years of my life behind a desk, planning work for years out & analyzing potential risks for my team members. A week ago, I quit and boarded a plane with my husband on an adventure to travel the world, training judo. For the first time in 9 years I have had to let go of my instinctive desire to plan for everything. On the road (especially in foreign countries) as I am quickly learning, trying to project manage life is fruitless. There are too many unknowns, too many variables...and maybe as I am starting to wonder, that is for the best.
I am finding that life, unpredictable, is perhaps how it should be.
We booked the cheapest flight possible to Paris and upon reading reviews of the airline I had overly prepared for excess additional charges at the gate, delayed flights, poor customer service, and terrible food. None of those things happened. Other than seats being a little skinny the biggest headache faced was the stress I gave myself expecting to face problems. Instead of being able to comfortably enjoy the journey, I was too busy filling my mind with anticipated issues that relaxing was only possible for a small portion of what should have been an exhilarating start.
Upon arriving in Paris I was filled with excitement as we were planning to train with the National team one day and on another night I was slated to train with the French Olympian in my category! As we packed up for or first practice, I made a third run to the bathroom. Since landing in France my stomach had been nothing but a swollen mess. I felt like a new mom, everywhere we visited I had to keep my eyes peeled for Toilette signs in case an emergency arose. As it turned out there were issues with at the National site so we were unable to train. My husband was shattered but my stomach was relieved. I'd hate to have to run off of the mat due to another bathroom attack while training there! We instead spent the time with friends getting a lovely tour of the city. The next day I was beaming with anticipation of training with the Olympian, but despite medicine and lots of water my belly was still not agreeing. We walked the city all day so that I would avoid whining in bed all day. It was magical. The cities beauty and attractions were overwhelming. However when we left for practice, traffic held us up and we missed training! I was furious. Once again my stomach, being a jerk, was relieved to not have to deal with judo while still a mess. As it turned out, the Olympian missed training that night too!
It took my belly 5 days to return to normal. We missed 2 sessions that were planned and both my husband and I were heartbroken. But instead we saw lovely parts of Paris, got some quality time with loved ones, and my stomach wasn't an embarrassment in front of National team members. As I reflected, maybe we weren't meant to make those practices. Perhaps, despite our planning, everything happened as it should.
My hope is that as our adventure continues I learn to embrace the idea of 'going with the flow' more. I am hoping to reflect more on the wonderful parts of my day than on the aspects that don't fall into my anticipated plans. It will take some effort to let go of the habit of predicting risks and expecting to follow a perfect plan but maybe life is meant to feel more fluid and the "bumps" in the road are really for the best.
So here is to more flowing, more of the unexpected, more relaxing, and less stress.
I am so excited for whatever comes next!
Believer that everyone is special.