I knew going into the new year that I stacked my calendar pretty heavily when it came to trips. After having stayed put for all of December, the gypsy in me began to count down the days to my almost back to back to back weekend adventures to Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta. What I didn’t count on during these trips were some of the timely lessons that I learned about the evolution of my ongoing march to 40, especially as it relates to my relationships.
The adventure began with the hubster and I jumping in the car and riding down to Houston for our first NBA game together. The Rockets took on the Lakers and came back to win the game in overtime.
I got a great deal on awesome seats for the game using the Houston Rockets app. I really do recommend the app over some of the other ticket resellers largely because this is the app that is listed on the Houston Rockets website as a verified reseller of tickets. They also provided photo perspectives that let me know exactly what our view of the floor would be like prior to purchase.
While this trip was a shared experience for both Terrance and me, it was largely his birthday gift and so there were a lot of things that I would have liked to do that I opted out of on this particular trip. However, I did get to have some quality me time when one of his friends contacted him and wanted to get together. Now here comes the start of my personal lessons.
Lesson 1 – Spending time apart during a trip with my husband is perfectly okay.
When my husband’s friend called him and made plans to connect, I asked my beloved if he wanted me to come, but did so in a way to let him know I was fine if he wanted to go on his own. The quiet time I enjoyed while he was out with his friend was an accent to the overall experience. I used that time to process and reflect on where I was in that moment.
I took time to breathe, and I liked it.
Next up was Nawlins! My cousin and I had made plans way back to continue our newish tradition of celebrating Galentine’s Day. This was our first time traveling to New Orleans together and we had a fabulous time fully being in vacation mode.
Lesson 2 – Be thoughtful in who you travel with to ensure you all have the best possible time.
My cousin and I pretty much vibrate on the same frequencies. Case in point, once while launching out from our hotel we saw a little hole in the wall book store and pretty much ran across the street and commenced to be the total nerds that we are. There was no question or hesitation that we were diverting to the literary wonderland of Dauphine Street Books.
Lesson 3 – Girl trips are essential to my mental health
I work hard every day and work can be a tricky place to base your close personal relationships. There are some who preach that your work colleagues cannot and should not be your go to friends. Yet, we spend around 40 hours a week with these people so how do you foster healthy, outside of work relationships as a full, grown adult?
I talk to my friends on the phone a lot because very few live within closer than a three hour drive of me. Another way is to create affordable girl trips. Meeting in the middle. Meeting up at conferences or reaching out for tea if work has me passing through their town or vice versa. It’s not always easy but it is always worth the effort.
This series of trips ended with me popping over to ATL real quick to deliver my mother’s actual Christmas present which was a Day of Style with the incomparable @SirAlgernon.
It was pure joy watching my mother go through this experience. We always have an amazing time when we are together but this time was special and we could both feel it.
Lesson 4 – Spending time with my mother (and my family in general) is at the top of my priority list
My family brings me joy, period. I need that joy in my life to do what I was put here to do. So I am not filling my life up with so much stuff that I can’t find time to be with the people who love me unconditionally.
As it turned out, my original flight home was cancelled and so I called up a couple of my cousins and we enjoyed brunch at Home Grown and had extended family time while I waited for the next flight out.
This experience left me full. My heart rejoices in the knowledge that I love and am loved by some pretty amazing people and I would trade that for the world.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.