I consider myself a recovered compulsive worrier, but certain events still trigger thoughts and fears about inconsequential stuff … like expecting to be the perfect host.
My travel buddy Caroline is currently visiting me for a few weeks and I enjoyed a fun and relaxing extra-long Memorial Day weekend with road trips, someone to cook for, and getting back on the trail for three (3!) hikes.
Caroline is ultra-low maintenance, has stayed in my condo twice before, and is enthusiastic about my vegetarian cooking—but despite all that, a week ago I’d worked myself up with a long list of tasks that a good host should accomplish before a guest arrives. My muscles ached after the previous weekend spent moving furniture and cleaning. Although I greatly appreciate my condo, I thought a lot about how much time I would save to prepare for a visitor* if I lived in a 200 square foot Tiny House! I was working long days to meet a deadline for my manager so I was behind on the to do list and time was running out.
And so there I am, one hour before I need to leave for the airport, finally climbing the step-ladder to install the blind in the guest room’s bare window. Would she understand if I worked some on my days off? Spent less $ than usual? Took time to meditate? Had I got all the right groceries? Would my anti-social, aggressive cat ambush her on the way to the loo at 3AM? I throw in some guilt that I have procrastinated with my homeowners association board responsibilities and that I have failed to meet my personal commitment to write a weekly blog post. This is some really tasty home-made suffering now.
By the time I’m driving to the airport, I am a tense mass of over-work, stress, worry and guilt. I figure it will take me days to relax. I decide to try something new, something simpler: the cell phone waiting lot. Rather than paying and driving through many levels of the parking garage, I park outside. I sit, calm myself, and think: I don’t need to do it all. I can ask for help.
And sure enough as soon as Caroline throws her duffle bag on the back seat, sits down in front and closes the door, all of the noise disappears. All of it. All of the tension unwinds. All I’m left with before driving home are the honest words that follow the feeling: I’m so glad you’re here. And then the fun begins.
*I am expecting many visitors to my SLSR home and am looking forward to sharing that peaceful area of Nova Scotia with friends. If all the bedrooms are taken, they’ll be a field to pitch a tent on!
- SLSR = simpler living semi-retirement