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Taken earlier today at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Despite how happy I look in today’s photo, month three has been the most challenging month so far.  So many things happened–I returned from our road trip, prepared for my research trip, and left my home and husband behind for a few weeks to start researching for my book.  And, last but not nearly least, all of my friends–and my husband–went back to work.

It’s been a tough month.

But fortunately, even when I’m stressed or sad I’m still learning.  Which brings me to my Lessons List ‘o the Month.  This month I learned:

  • I really, really hate leaving my husband.
  • I’m not as brave as I’d like to think.
  • Planning a solo trip is one thing; doing it is quite another.
  • I have a fantastic sense of direction.
  • I love having a rental car when on vacation.
  • I can get work done even whilst entertaining others.
  • There are people on the earth other than my husband that I enjoy traveling with (and that I think can enjoy traveling with me, too!)
  • Sometimes the things you plan out don’t work out.  And it’s ok to change them.
  • I work better when under a shorter deadline.
  • Because of the above, all trips from here on out will be no more than ten days in length (with the exception of summer road trips with the husband–those don’t count!)
  • It’s really freaking hot in central Florida in September.
  • Even when Disney parks are having ‘low crowd level days’, there are still crowds.  And being hot makes it worse.
  • I will always go home early if given the chance (This is historically true. Please reference Europe trip and Breadloaf!)
  • All I really want is to be able to earn money doing something I love whilst still being able to travel in the summer with my husband.  I don’t need to be the Rick Steves of educational domestic travel.
  • I have absolutely no idea what that ‘something to earn money’ is going to be.  I only know what it’s not going to be.  So I guess that’s a start…?
Clearly, all of these lessons are not lessons that I enjoyed learning.  But no one ever said this would be easy.  Which brings me to the last thing I’ve learned:  nothing is easy.  It may seem that I’m living a life of leisure, hanging out in the happiest place on earth and smiling in front of the Tower of Terror.  Sadly, that’s not true.  Everything is hard…but the secret to happiness is finding the kind of difficult that you can deal with.  I can deal with this type of difficult.
Is it stressful trying to create something out of nothing?  Absolutely.  Have I cultivated new stress-induced nightmares?  You bet.  But it’s still better than 9th period study hall.
The other great thing about this kind of difficult is that I have the ability to change my situation.  For example, if it is hot and crowded in a particular park that I’m in, I can change parks (or come home and type up my notes and write a blog post, which is what I’m doing right now.)  If I find that I’m running out of steam–and ideas–I can hop on a cheap flight home (which I will be doing on Saturday.)  If I get home and realize three months from now that I need more research time, well, it’s another cheap flight back.  And if I need money to pay for all of those cheap flights I imagine it won’t be hard to find somewhere that will hire me to do some sort of menial task.

I’ve been ‘not working’ for an entire season now–last day of work was the first day of summer, and autumn begins the day after tomorrow.  Here’s to three more seasons of figuring out what I want to do when I grow up–or finding a way to avoid the whole growing up thing all together!

EDIT:  I’d like to apologize for the fact that the formatting above is completely screwed up.  I just spent fifteen minutes trying to fix it and I simply CAN NOT.  Apparently that’s not one of the things I learned this month.

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