Friday, August 21, 2009

Personality Challenge

I am a plan-a-year-ahead, control-freak, anticipate every contingency kind of person. I like to be organized and I don't fly well by the seat of my pants. I don't like last minute changes. I am not spontaneous.

Despite my inflexible personality, I made an uncharacteristic decision on Wednesday. I was chatting online with my sister when she expressed great anxiety about having to move herself 8 hours from home for a job she had just accepted, by Monday. Yes, this Monday. The idea to fly there and drive her to her new home popped into my head, flowed through my arms, and out my fingers into the ether. She jumped at the offer. My stomach dropped to the floor. What had I just done?

I bought plane tickets two days before flying. We found a hotel room three days before arriving. I was suddenly faced with the reality that I had to pull myself out of my comfortable and familiar routine and put myself on a roller coaster with very little information and no hand brake. I tried not to panic.

I shouldn't complain, really. My sister is the one I could not trade places with. She has no place to stay. She's going to pack up her belongings and arrive in a place where she has never been before, knows no one and has to find somewhere to live and transportation to work before I leave with the rental car on Tuesday morning. I'm really hoping I don't end up leaving her on the side of the road with her belongings piled around her, with no plan in sight.

The only thing that keeps me from backing out is that I trust her to handle that part. She has no problem with couch-surfing and won't actually have that much stuff, so she'll be fine, right?

Besides, I have to go. I have plane tickets. And she's really excited. I can't tell if my stomach is doing back flips out of excitement or out of sheer terror. Donald thinks that my sudden decision is awesome. He knows how hard this is for me and I think it impressed him that it even occurred to me to do something so spontaneous and daring. He loves challenging me and loves it even more when I challenge myself. We are both on a continuous quest to encourage each other to be better people.

My in-laws and coworkers were stunned when I told them I was leaving on the spur of the moment. So were my parents, when I told them that they didn't need to worry about getting my sister to her new place, that I was coming to help. Granted, I live far away and there have been periods of time when I haven't been home for two years or when I only see my family once a year. This year has been different for some reason. Why is it that when we have a lot less money available, we end up traveling more? Travel is not cheap. I guess family is more and more important as things get harder. So we make it happen.

I feel empowered. I feel like I can stretch myself. First, handling raw chicken, and now this? I'm really pushing the things I have control over. Hopefully my personality won't snap under the strain of trying new things. I'm testing my flexibility. I'm putting myself in a new situation to see what happens. I'm preparing myself for many more unknowns in the future. I'm training for whatever comes next. It feels good.

I'll let you know how it goes. I'll try to Tweet some updates. Please keep Donald in your thoughts on Monday for his interview. Maybe everything will be different when I get back.


  1. What an awesome thing you did for your sister --- wow! To offer that, but also to go outside what you'd normally do... What a phenomenal message you've sent to others. You're leading by example!

  2. Megan - Thanks for visiting some of my older posts! At the time, I wasn't so aware of the significance of what I did. Now, I look back and realize that I have been traveling a better path longer than I thought. When I list my values and see family and growth near the top, I see that I am already acting in new ways that coincide with my core values. Thank you so much for your encouragement!


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