Last weekend Amy and I flew out to Los Angeles to attend an event while visiting family and friends. It was a wonderful experience and we particularly enjoyed the 75 degree days leading into the weekend — it was a welcome change from the brutal Minnesota winter. For the most part everything went smoothly and we couldn’t have planned a better trip. On the other hand, I really did not expect this to happen:
Almost immediately, my 30-day-strong daily habits completely fell apart. Outside of my normal environment I found it incredibly difficult to keep up with my six daily habits. The one thing that made it, was simply making the bed every morning.
With beautiful weather, a part of me ached to just be outside as much as possible. I found myself taking any excuse to not be on a computer or phone and just sit. I read outside, but those opportunities were somewhat limited as well. Between visiting friends and family, then attending a full two-day event, the days seemed packed yet full of wonderful things.
This experience has me reflecting on the fact that I’ve always dreamed of being a digital nomad. I imagined myself working from coffee shops and airbnbs around the world, my location being up to my daily whim. In a way, this trip helped me realize that might not be the exact right scenario for my day-to-day life.
I really love exploring new places, but I also love coming home. While I do believe I might be able to adjust to a new country every four months, I’m not sure it’s in my long-term vision at this point. I love the comfort and consistency that home brings. While it may not be as exciting as trying an exotic cuisine I’ve never had before, it has its own benefits. It seems a balanced approach between a home base and traveling is what makes the most sense for me.
What I do know, is that losing my momentum on daily actions did not feel good. In fact, getting back into the swing of things upon returning to Minnesota has been 100 times harder than it was to just do the actions every day. There’s definitely an element of guilt that I let myself down and in a way, let you down too. That guilt has made it even harder to start-up again – it’s why I haven’t posted a blog post in over a week. What I realized, is that feeling this way is totally counter productive.
We can try as hard as possible to get our daily action to look like our long-term vision, but some days we won’t be successful. Life happens. Sometimes there are amazing opportunities to revel in the glory of the moment without worrying about checking daily actions off a list. The last thing we should do is create a guilt-spiral that makes us miserable and makes it even harder get back on track.
But unless we decide that those daily actions are no longer the ones that will get us towards the long-term vision for our lives, we just have to get back on the horse. Make it stupid-easy and get going again, because not doing them isn’t any good for us either.
A funny thing did happen on our return flight from Los Angeles to Minneapolis. We had a layover in Denver that lasted about an hour, and I wandered around looking to buy some gummy bears for the wait (yep, I’m 30 years old). I found some, flipped the package around, and found that this particular bag of gummy bears was $8. I refused to spend that much money on gummy bears, I mean, come on.
Meanwhile, a huge snowstorm moved into Minneapolis and our flight was delayed. Then, it was delayed again. An hour later, it was cancelled.
We’d be spending an unexpected night in Denver. Amy and I knew that there was nothing that could be done, so we stepped up to the counter and asked to change our flight to something the next day. As we stood there, we heard no less than three people come up and find out that their checked luggage would be sent to Minneapolis on the next available flight whether they were on it or not.
Packing light, only carrying our backpacks, helped us create space for our flight to get screwed up. We weren’t inconvenienced by the cancellation and had all of our stuff with us already. At this point, it was just another day added to the trip and an opportunity for us to connect with some friends in Denver for dinner. We found a great deal on a hotel with a free airport shuttle and booked it for the night.
We checked into our hotel and found out that there was a complimentary happy hour with wine and ‘snacks’. After getting settled in, we headed down to the happy hour and I couldn’t help but laugh at what I found.
Wine, popcorn, and gummy bears.
What are the odds, really? Who knows. What I do know, is that allowing the mental and physical space for things to go wrong made our lives so much easier. So much better, even. Perhaps the universe was giving us a gift for handling the cancelled flight well, perhaps it was just a coincidence.
Either way, it did confirm that I need allow space to let things get screwed up. Embracing minimalism, the busy-boycott, and slowing down allow us all to do this. Creating daily action that moves us towards our life’s long-term vision allows us to do this. Who knows, if I had my nose in my phone for the evening, perhaps I wouldn’t have even noticed the free gummy bears at all.