I realized a trend on this trip that I have done for most of my life, but never noticed. I have the tendency to construct countdowns for many experiences. As I write this it sounds awful, but I have just always viewed phases within this framework. There was the countdown for the end of school and the start of summer, until visiting day at camp, the countdown of days left in Argentina (mainly because we had gained fifteen pounds and were cold while our friends were in their bikinis on the beach), days until the weekend at my terrible job right out of college, and an elaborate visual countdown of days until the election when I worked on a Senate campaign.
My goal for this trip is to not countdown or even add up days since I have been here. On each day I want to focus on that day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Looking back on all of the countdowns, some seem ridiculous (I would love to go back to Argentina now) while some are understandable (working seven days a week on a campaign is exhausting). In this experience whether I have a bad day or wish I had more time to take trips around the region, I need to let time pass without assessing it.
As simple as this sounds I know this task will not come easy, but I am hoping that it will be like successfully breaking any other bad habit (although my friends and family have been trying to get me to break my hair twirling habit for a decade). Today it is especially challenging not to get into countdown mode. I keep opening my calendar to write in meetings for work and it is tempting to glance ahead and think about how long I have left. It is always a challenge to be the new person in an office, but it feels especially hard today. My co-workers from the U.S. are working in different offices and not only am I at a new organization, but it is a new country and culture.
Rather than dwell on this feeling I know I can work on being grateful and stick with my motto before I left for this trip, to just keep moving forward. Besides, if I didn’t feel off every once in awhile how would I be able to appreciate the truly spectacular days? For now, I will take it one day at a time (unless that phrase is a countdown in which case I take it back).