I am a results-oriented person. Have been my whole life. When I go shopping, I know what I want and I go get the best version of what I want and I’m done. I put a value on my free time… about triple what work is willing to pay me. If I can’t save three times what someone else is willing to pay me, I don’t worry about cost savings.
We can’t take money with us when we go and our existence on this rock is finite – we won’t get out of this alive. You have to save money for the future, of course, but I make the most of the time I have as well. Or so I thought…
As a sufferer of “Get-there-itis”, I’m always pressing to get wherever it is we’re going. That’s the mission (a lot like shopping), to get there. As a result, I’ve been quite anxious, often pushy, and sometimes a downright butthole until we reach whatever destination it is we’re heading to.
To make this exceptionally fun and exciting, my wife likes to take the scenic route. The long way. And she’s an absolute nut until we get out the door. The kids were traumatized when it came to vacations. Any kid would be fortunate to have parents who care as much as we do, but we owe them an amends about getting ready and getting to and from vacation destinations since they were little ones.
I won’t focus on my wife’s numerous quirks in this regard because to do so is an exercise in idiocy that never turns out well. I know the fix to mine, though.
“Get-there-itis”, viewed honestly and open-mindedly, is a self-centric behavior. We have to get there because I am a results-oriented person. There’s no scenic route worth taking, no road but the quickest/fastest way there worth it. Once we get “there”, I can relax and enjoy it. I would actually get fidgety and anxious when we deviated from getting there. I hated it.
This makes life sad and difficult for someone who likes to take a road trip from time to time. Who likes to get there, but to enjoy the trip as well.
So, here’s the trick. First, I fell in love with my wife all over again after 25 years of marriage and 27 years together. This takes a little more than a decision. It takes practice and a whole lot of “want to”. When we fell in love again, I focused on fixing (or at least working on fixing – it’s a massive battle) my self-centeredness. And that’s how I learned my “Get-there-itis” was a result of being selfish. Oh, it’s great when you’ve gotta get the wife to the maternity ward, but it sucks on vacation.
My wife and I went on our first trip together after these changes started manifesting with all of the angst we normally would – thankfully, the kids were staying home for this one. On the way up, because I knew the route to our destination (I’d traveled it regularly with my parents when I was young) I asked my wife if we could take the longer route up the coast because it was vastly more visually stunning. I didn’t have to scrape her jaw off the floor, but it was close. Then, on the way up the coast (east coast of Michigan, in Tawas and Oscoda), my wife kept seeing public beaches and as we passed one she blurted out, “Oh my God, that’s beautiful!” I asked if she wanted to see it up close and whipped our SUV, camper in tow, into a gas station to turn around just as she answered, “yes”.
We walked the beach for ten or fifteen minutes and took a few selfies and photos of the magnificence of the Lake Huron beach.
If memory serves, my wife actually cried as we got back into the car because I’d never been willing to do something like turn the car around in mid-trip to check out a beach! I simply smiled and said, “The change is real, sweetheart.”
Later, during that trip, we were riding our tandem and my wife spotted a beautiful stream passing under the road. It was so gorgeous she couldn’t help but holler out. I checked traffic was clear and whipped the bus-like bike around and we took a ten minute break to take in the scenery. It was amazing. More selfies and regular photos.
It was shortly after I realized my “Get-there-itis” was capable of being “cured”. In the changes I’d gone through, I learned I could have fun with my wife on the journey to the destination… without messing with the thrill of getting to the destination. My vacation time was literally extended by the length of the trip, both to and from.
Friends, my “Get-there-itis” ceased being something my wife and kids had to put up with. Now I watch for its signs so I can stomp the anxiousness out before it has a chance to start because it messes with some great time spent with my wife and kids. My life is vastly more enjoyable without it.