A couple of weeks ago Andy and I went to Los Angeles for his birthday weekend. Andy picked Los Angeles because it is his dream to live in downtown LA in a loft. This is not my dream, at all, but I could handle it for a weekend. So we rented a downtown loft on Airbnb and drove up after work on Friday.
I was excited, because I LOVE vacations. Who doesn't? Vacations are wonderful and delightful and refreshing. There are new things to see and learn and eat. But with all of this wonderfulness I start cultivating increasingly unmanageable expectations. This won't just be a lovely vacation, it will be a perfect vacation.
Putting pressure on yourself to have a perfect vacation is a terrible way to start out. There are so many things you can't control, like the weather or the traffic or the food poisoning. But my biggest problem is that I'm not even that great at being in charge of myself in aew situation. They make me edgy: I'm not in my normal comfort zone, I don't know what I'm doing, and this increases the chances that I might, *gasp*, do something wrong. It makes me anxious.
Combine all this (astronomic expectations + discomfort in new surroundings) with the fact that we normally leave for vacations on Friday at the end of long work weeks when I am pretty tired, and you have a recipe for several minor emotional breakdowns.
For example, on this trip, when we made it to the apartment, I learned that we were supposed to text the Airbnb owner fifteen minutes before we got there. And we hadn't! Then we were driving around, and Andy's driving was making me nervous because he is a more aggressive driver than I am. Then we were trying to find a parking garage and we wound up parking in a perfectly legal but slightly less than optimal spot. THE HORROR, amirite? And the sad thing is that I got legitimately snappy about these situations. Truly, I am a veritable ray of sunshine on vacation.
But here is where things get dangerous. With even a tiny bit of perspective, these issues and my less-than-ideal response to them are not a big deal at all. I just need to breathe, apologize, and move on. But perfectionism says, "YOU HAVE RUINED THIS PERFECTLY LOVELY VACATION! IT'S OVER! YOU CAN NEVER RECOVER HAPPINESS AGAIN." If my vacation can only be wonderful if it's perfect, and I have sniped at my husband over extremely trivial matters, then it is truly spoiled and irredeemable.
I've had to train myself to believe that's not true. I now actually plan to sin on vacation. I don't plot out the actual sins like a Bond villain, obviously, but I just adjust my expectations to realize that I am going to sin. You can't have a perfect vacation unless you are a perfect person, and I don't qualify. So I just expect that at some point I will screw up, and then I will apologize and Andy will forgive me, and then the vacation isn't ruined at all.
Andy is also willing to do things to help me be more comfortable with new situations. He now makes a detailed schedule for all our vacations, which I love. One of the many Speckhard family mottoes is "No unscheduled fun," so the schedule make me feel right at home. And I'm working on not letting my anxiety about new situations and my unreasonable expectations get the better of me. On this vacation we had a really good talk about how I need to be better about not sweating the small stuff.
And we had a super fun time, as evidenced by the pictures below:
If you would like a downtown LA loft of your own, or any other awesome Airbnb spot, you can get $20 off if you're signing up for the first time by following this link. It was very easy and fun, and a very cool place to stay.
Vacation success! Not perfect, but pretty darned wonderful.