Monday, February 18, 2013

Life is about... experiences

Think about your favorite book or movie. What was your favorite part of it? Was it when the main character was sitting around, thinking about her problems? Or was it when she was out solving them? Chances are, you prefer the latter. I do, too. Why? Because doing something is always more interesting and memorable than not doing something.

This seems obvious, and yet so many of us spend much more of our time sitting on couches instead of getting out into the world and having experiences. Again, why? Because it's easier.

Here's a recent example. For Christmas, my husband got me tickets to an improv comedy show, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from "Whose Line is it Anyway?", at the Tarrytown Music Hall. We'd gone the last time the act was in the area, and it was so much fun. I was really looking forward to it. But by the time the day arrived, there were a few things conspiring against us...

1. Babysitting. One casualty of extending my maternity leave for the rest of the year is that Edwin doesn't spend more than a few hours a week away from me. That means we haven't been overly motivated to get him to take a bottle after it proved to be a stressful activity for all of us a few months ago.  Additionally, he occasionally has a long, inconsolable crying jag with an alternate caregiver (my husband or our mothers) that only ends when I am able to take him back. Finally, Edwin has never been put to bed by anyone else but me. We were very concerned that my in-laws, who were set to babysit the night of the show, would be in for a very rough night. Staying home would have made their lives easier (though they would have protested) and more comfortable for us since we wouldn't have to worry about them or the baby.

2. Weather. It was the day after Blizzard Nemo hit our area, and we were worried about the roads, especially about parking, which is always difficult in Tarrytown. Staying home would have meant avoiding the hassle of driving, being out in the freezing cold, and struggling to find a snow-free parking space.

We were tempted to take the easy way out and not go. But in the end, my eagerness to see the show and desire not to waste the tickets won out. We chose the experience.

Did it all go well? Not really. We were late leaving my in-laws' house because Edwin did indeed have a meltdown and I had to get him to calm down before we left. So we just had a bite to eat at their house instead of out in Tarrytown as we'd planned. Then when we got there, true to our worries, there were no parking spots. It took us quite awhile to find anything, and then it was on the main road where we had to park next to a huge snowbank and were sure we were going to get sideswiped. It was freezing cold, and the show went extra long, so we didn't get back at our planned time. My in-laws did feed Edwin and get him to bed, and even had a few nice moments with him, but he also fussed and cried and overall, I'm sure it wasn't the easiest night for them. It was also an exhausting night- we didn't get home with Edwin until 12:30, and he woke up bright and early before 7:00 the next morning.

But we still absolutely made the right choice. The show was great, we laughed a lot, and I've been living on those memories ever since. If we hadn't gone, the night would have just faded into a disappointing oblivion. Instead, it was a night to remember.

So get off the couch and plan some experiences. Don't take the easy way out. Because when you're old and gray, you won't remember the night you got little sleep and the baby was crying. You'll be smiling fondly at the great laughs you had that one time at the comedy hall.

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