I was almost out of breath I was moving so quickly. Running a marathon, perhaps? Racing to catch a train? Or participating in a competition? Nope. I was packing for our vacation. It was around 2pm and we weren’t leaving until 6am the next day. I had taken an extra day off to pack. We were in relatively good shape, all things considered. Yet I was racing.
Then I reminded myself to enjoy the process, a tip I've learned from Gretchen Rubin. I relished the fact I had extra time. I appreciated that my husband and I were getting along during what is sometimes a very stressful endeavor. I focused on our goal of leaving the house in good condition to ease our transition back to real life the following week. And I reminded myself to breathe. The next few hours went quite a bit more smoothly and I started our trip in a good frame of mind.
I’ve been reminding myself to enjoy the process a lot lately. At work I spend a lot of time creating and working in spreadsheets. I actually love Excel. But because of some changes in the way we do things, and because we had a lot of employees on vacation or on reduced hours this summer, everything felt rushed and decidedly not fun. For a while I forgot I liked Excel. Then I reminded myself to enjoy the process and all of a sudden what had been a major headache, programming new macros and testing new chart formats, became a whole lot more joyful.
As you can tell for me, the reminder to enjoy the process is also a reminder to slow down. Not everything is a race. Actually, hardly anything is a race. So I need to stop acting as if it is.
That trip I was packing for? Well, I used to think of the driving part of long car trips as a pain to be endured between fun destinations. But this time I really focused on enjoying the process of getting from one place to the other. Whether it was laughing as a family or relishing the quiet when everyone was doing their own thing, I managed to make most of our 1900+ miles feel like a joy rather than a burden.
It reminds me of that saying, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination."
Enjoy the process.