Tidbits of a conversation I overheard (alright, I confess. I was eavesdropping) at a Starbucks in NYC between two businessmen discussing the challenges of planning a family vacay.
What timing. The conversation took place just as I stepped out of Penn Station, killing half an hour before meeting a girlfriend arriving from another direction to take a yoga class, enjoy lunch (restaurant TBD, all part of the adventure), and make our way back to our respective Burbian abodes (she: Long Island, me: somewhere near the NJ/PA border).
I have a completely different view on getting to my intended destination. I LOVE it. Sure, I can understand the aforementioned wives’ desire to arrive without all the hassles of getting there. But skip the journey, and you miss out on all the juicy stuff: learning new processes and procedures; developing self-reliance; cultivating patience; connecting with real live humans right smack in front of you; loosening up and adapting to changing circumstances.
Sit home and allow someone else to handle all the logistics, and you remain needy. Dependent. I thank my parents to this day for lovingly but firmly nudging me out the door in my teens toward public transportation. It began with a ride on the big yellow banana school bus (tip: the seats in the back are the best – offering serious air time over every bump). Not long after I graduated to flying across the world, navigating airports, busting through language barriers (a smile and funky hand signals work wonders), and figuring out subway systems (albeit with a few embarrassing moments stuck in a turnstile). At age 44 (one year shy of the aforementioned wive), I can’t imagine what life would be like without all the skills gained from the ‘getting to’ part of every journey I’ve taken:
- Self-reliance. I get to be my own Sherpa.
- Adaptability. Things can change on a dime. I’ve gotten good at finding a Plan B in many situations.
- Connection. Admittedly, a little tougher now as everyone, even the elderly man next to me on the train yesterday whipped out a pair of ear buds. But when you’re lost, sometimes the quickest way back is to smile, ask another human, connect.
- Confidence. I arrive. I pat myself on the back. I did it!!
Go for it. Get from A to B on your own. See how it feels.