I recently went on a trip this weekend to see my cousin get married in NC. Traveling has a way of putting many things into perspective. Seeing family even more so. It got me thinking about how I show up in the world and how fast time moves sometimes.
Consider this--by the time you reach the age of 18 you will have already spent 90% of the total time that you will ever spend with your parents. Stop and read that again. We are living in a world of high mobility. Fewer and fewer families are staying in the same cities anymore. Even before COVID, fewer and fewer families were traveling to see one another. What gives? COVID has opened a portal into answering this question. When everyone was suddenly called back into closer familial communities some very interesting things occurred. The cycle went like this for many--anxiety about the pandemic, then the comfort of family and the joy of re-connection, followed sharply by itching to resume life, followed by building frustration with close ones, and finally explosive annoyance for even the smallest transgression. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Families spread out because we are naturally called to live independent lives and build individual domains. This is not a bad thing. It is a necessary part of growth. The trouble occurs when we end up attaching too much meaning to those domains. We become tied to a place, a ritual, a job, or a community other than our birthplace and upbringing. I know that I am personally wired to enjoy the kingdom I have created and get out-of-sorts when I have to leave it. However, in this tension lies opportunity. Here is the mental reframe that really helped me on this trip. We live in a society that values independence and choice. I choose to leave on family trips, and, therefore, I take responsibility for the feelings. Those feeling are something I am signing up for. Frustration is something I am signing up for in order to feel connected to my family, and that is worth it. This mindset puts me more in control of my life. So as we move into the holiday season, I hope that my experience can help you with your own travels. Like a difficult workout or a painful conversation, we can reframe travel and family time as something positive. And... if that isn't enough, nothing makes to love the place you live more than leaving it for a while. I want to know how you guys think about travel and seeing loved ones? Any tricks/tips for making the holidays smooth?