Monday, September 19, 2011

Taking on Travel Anxiety with some Fun

Hello Friends:

So last time I talked about flexibility.  This time I want to talk about fun.  Turning a strange circumstance into a party is definitely a skill worth learning.  Wish I could do it more often.

Anyway, after being at home a week, we were pounded by another storm.  Three days of rain, and the Susquehanna valley up to the north suffered the kinds of floods it hasn't seen since '72.  For the first time in years, we lost power ourselves.  That's odd for us since all our power lines are buried.  But, never say never.

Certainly not the night before another trip.

So there I was, packing, doing laundry, getting some things folded, then with the small, wailing blip of a surge protector, all the lights are gone.  I stand a few seconds, feeling totally disoriented, and then bravely start calling out for my spouse.  We are on different levels of the house, and are both fine.

I calm down and my mind starts to move again.  No flashlights, since they all got bought out during Hurricane Irene and ours are old and dead.  But I have more candles than you can probably light in one home and still meet the fire codes.  I wait a few minutes for my eyes to adjust, and find there is plenty of weak, filtered moonlight to be had.  I start lighting candles and distributing them around the house.

It's fun.  Like a spooky party, and I am such a fan of Halloween.  It's actually fun.

I start thinking we should find some ghost stories to read to each other.

Then I reconsider, since tomorrow (it was tomorrow at the time I wrote this, anyway ... my verb tenses are all over the place) I will be doing one of the most terrifying things I can think of - flying.  No horror for me tonight.  It does not, however, take the shine off of the novelty of packing suitcases by candlelight.  I can't even be sure if the clothes all match.  Normally this would be the sort of thing that would have me freaking out.  But somehow knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do about it has absolved me of the responsibility of matching my colors.  Packing actually took me less time than usual.

Then taking a shower by candlelight.  Very fun.  Really.  I think about all those people out of power for weeks and weeks from Irene and other storms.  No doubt this post would seem utterly silly to them.  How many showers have they had in the dark?  I can't help it, it is still fun.  I have candles on the sink, flickering away, and it's kind of romantic.

So another entry into the book of travel: Don't assume you are going to be able to pack with adequate light.  Be prepared to shower in the dark.  (Or skip it if the water is cold.  No one will notice, since by the time you get to the airport you will be drenched by the torrential rains, anyway.)

I realize that having things shaken up like this has actually made things better.  I always do the same things before I travel, all the same way.  Just doing them makes me jumpy, because it means *travel.*  The power going out made me alter the pattern, and it felt like a party.  I could have allowed myself to get even more worked up than usual, but instead I let it become something fun.  Not sure this will work again, this idea of 'altering the pattern,' but I'm going to see if there are other ways I can make travel surprises fun, instead of frightful.

Your Hostess With Neuroses

Image credit/info: Floating lights by ToastyKen on flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0


Elizabeth said...

Good for you for turning the power outage into something fun!

Especially the night before you FLY! Yikes! You are awesome!

I have terrible anxiety during power outages and it is VERY hard for me to carry on let alone, carry on and have fun.

This is a very inspiring post to me,

Kat said...

I love it! This is something i could definitely work on. I do try to find the humor in things, it's still just a little hard for me at the time. I'm usually pretty good after the fact when my adrenaline level has come down. I am definitely stealing this page from your book, though. : ) (Well, it might be difficult when my power goes out. Living in the country means no power=no water. Definitely not a good thing for me. LOL)

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