Until my mid-twenties, I had the emotional maturity of a toddler. When things didn’t go my way I was quick to point the blame at others; and, if I was really upset, I would have crazy foot stomping meltdowns.
One of my most infamous outbursts happened at the end of my first solo trip: 4-months in Scotland where I volunteered on organic farms as a WWOOFer. I had missed my connecting flight home and, since I had booked with two different airlines, the second one refused to put me on a later flight. I had such an epic sobbing, screaming meltdown at the check-in counter that they red-flagged me in their computers so that I couldn’t get help from anyone until the next day. I embarrassed myself, was rude to nice people, and somehow even lost my camera during the tantrum. Not good.
Now let’s fast forward 8 years to this past summer when Mat and I missed our flight home from Barcelona to Canada at the end of his 4-month artist-in-residence tour. We were obviously upset but instead of letting the situation get the best of us, we found ourselves a comfortable place to sit, ordered some breakfast, and then calmly looked at our options. After careful consideration we figured out that the cost to fly home that same day would be more expensive than going to Amsterdam for the weekend (including the cost of a hotel) and then flying home from there. We (obviously) chose to spend the weekend in Amsterdam and had the most amazing time together!
The lesson from these two stories isn’t that good behaviour is rewarded with a trip to Amsterdam (imagine if it was, though!) but that going with the flow, in life and on the road, does help us focus our energy on solving problems faster. It also prevents us from injuring the people around us with our emotional shrapnel.
Mat has been hugely supportive and patient during my emotional evolution from a petulant 20-something toddler to a mature adult. Since I can’t share his relationship wizardry with you, I’ll share the wisdom from these three men with you instead: Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao, and the Zen Habits Blog by Leo Babauta. Reading their work really helped me change the way I think, feel, and react to things in my daily life and might help you on your journey, too :)