We took the scenic route to my first year of college.
I went to a tiny, hippie school outside of Asheville, NC -- I think there were 500 students that year (1995).
I had to be there early on a Monday morning to check in, so my mom, sister, and I drove down on Sunday.
Because of scheduling issues, we had to take 3 separate cars -- I was keeping my car there, my mom was staying all week to help me settle in, and my sister had to come back to Maryland for work after just a couple of nights.
We were an adventuresome trio, so we decided to take the back roads and spend as much time as possible on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
We also decided to splurge and spend Sunday night in a fancy resort hotel on the other side of town rather than a cheaper place closer to the school.
Now, you might already be surmising that this plan was a recipe for disaster.
But you don’t even know, yet, that I woke up that Sunday morning to 4 flat tires and we didn’t get on the road until much later than planned.
Or that we spent at least a third of the drive creeping through fog at like 20 miles an hour in our 3-car caravan along windy mountain roads. 🚗🚗🚗
Long story longer, the normally 8- or 9-hour trip took closer to 13, and we arrived at the posh hotel after the restaurant had closed and with no time to do anything except grab a few hours of sleep.
(I think my mom did sweet-talk the staff into feeding us at least something when we arrived, but it certainly wasn’t the special, relaxing meal we had all been imagining. And of course you know dinners out are THE most important part of any trip.)
Anyway, as you can probably imagine, this comedy of errors resulted in a more-stressful-than-necessary beginning to my college career -- not to mention a bunch of money wasted on a night at a resort that we didn’t even have time to enjoy.
We were so focused on trying to make it FUN that we kind of skimmed right over practicality. 😬
But we could have been both fun AND responsible -- by perhaps taking the interstate instead of the scenic route so we could get to the fancy hotel faster and have more time to relax.
It’s kind of like that perennial conundrum of deciding whether to eat delicious foods that you love or support your body so you feel good. Yummy or healthy?
Are we having fun or being good?
Is it ok to have pancakes for breakfast even though I’m not on vacation? 🥞
Do I have to order a salad because everyone else is having one?
Can I really wear a bikini and enjoy the sun even though I’m fat and my tummy is pale and I have tons of stretch marks?
The bottom line is you can do whatever you want. You get to decide what works for YOU in that moment. You have complete freedom to make whatever choice you want, and then live with the consequences of that choice. 🤯
If pancakes work for you that day, then have them. But if they’re going to make you tired and that’s not what you want, then you have the freedom to make a different choice.
If you want a salad, then have it. But you don’t have to if you’d much rather have pizza. You get to choose. Or you could have both. 🍕🥗
If you feel great in a bikini and it enhances your pool or beach experience, then rock it. But if it doesn’t, then don’t. 👙
There’s no right or wrong way to do this eating-without-rules and learning-to-love-yourself stuff.
You don’t always have to do the MOST FUN thing, but you CAN if fun is at the top of your list that day. 💃
And you don’t always HAVE to do the RESPONSIBLE thing -- but sometimes maybe you will, because taking care of your body and feeling your best is what matters most in that moment. 💪
You get to figure out what YOU want and what your priorities are. No right or wrong.
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