19 June 2009

The Journey Begins (Tomorrow)

I've been thinking about a career change for the last couple of years, and I've finally decided to take the leap. Of course, I haven't decided where I will land yet. I'm reading a lot of books lately about finding the right career path that matches my personality, and I think it's a real shame that there's no real career path for worriers. Give me anything to think about, and I'll find a way to turn it into something to fret about. If I had started on the Worry Engineer path right out of college, I have no doubt that I would now be a highly paid executive.

Tomorrow I embark on what has now become my annual 20-hour drive to my condo in Breckenridge, Colorado. People ask me every year in early June if I'm getting really excited about the trip. The simple and honest answer is no. It's not that I don't love Breckenridge. I really do. Once I'm there, I could describe myself as blissful. But before I leave, I just can't focus on what I'm going to be enjoying. Instead, I conjure up everything that could possibly go wrong (and a bunch of other things that really couldn't), and the stress builds until my back is a series of knots. I white-knuckle it out, and I don't really feel myself relaxing until I make it to the bottom of the harrowing 8-mile, 6% grade decline that presents itself at the end of the Eisenhower Tunnel. That represents about 19 1/2 hours of stressful driving.

I hate that I can never enjoy a trip. I know how ridiculous it is to be incapable of looking forward to the journey. So this year, I'm determined not to turn it into a miserable two days. I've been doing my yoga religiously in the weeks leading up to the trip, and I've been meditating to create a sense of calm. My yoga mat is already packed in the car, but I can't say that I've started out well. I'll admit to having panic flashes in the last couple of weeks. I tell myself to relax, but sometimes it just creeps up on me. So I thought a few days ago that I had already failed in my attempt to enjoy the ride. While I was washing dishes tonight, though, I felt a twinge of joy. I'm almost positive that's what it was, and it was directly linked to my thinking of being in Colorado in two days. So apparently, there's hope for me yet.

At 6:30 am tomorrow, I'll be getting into the car with my two dogs and my mom, and the journey will officially begin. When we finally arrive in Lincoln, Nebraska for the night, I'll assess myself and let you know how it's going. I'll even include a photo or two. If you don't see a post tomorrow, I'm guessing it will be because my shoulders were so tense that I've lost feeling in my fingers.

Optimism is a very tricky skill, I think...

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