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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

Not boarding

“I didn’t leave for the airport before I left for the airport.”

Yes, that sentence left my mouth earlier this week.

I was on the phone with a friend, telling her about last weekend’s quick trip to Louisville, Colorado, just outside of Denver. (If you live there and I didn’t tell you I was coming, the trip was short and for a friend’s 40th birthday. Case closed!)

I typically find a way to drive myself mad leading up to vacation. I start by obsessively thinking about what to pack, as though I’m going to a remote land with no signs of civilization. I run through every possible scenario, evaluating what I’d need for each. “Well, what if it rains and we decide to hang out outside, and I’m completely soaked because I don’t have anything waterproof.” You know, very reasonable thoughts.

My medical needs also contribute to my packing anxiety. I calculate how much medication to bring, what equipment to take, and what worst-case-scenario things I should have on hand just in case my cystic fibrosis starts acting a fool. Can’t have too many cough drops!

Next comes to the journey to the airport (“Will the rideshare driver disregard all traffic rules?”), the trek through security (“What if they confiscate my respiratory therapy meds?”), and the flight itself (“Will I have an asthma attack given this weirdly recycled air?”). I don’t say any of this to belittle myself. I’m just saying I’ve got a creative mind.

But somehow, someway, I managed to stay present throughout the entire lead-up to the trip. I just did what came next without trying to live it in advance—i.e., I didn’t leave for the airport before I left for the airport. Sometimes I run myself so ragged pre trip that I start from a mental deficit, struggling to enter vacation mode when I reach my destination. Not this time!

Joy was all around from start to finish.

Of course it helped that I spent the weekend surrounded by some of my favorite people, all of whom make me laugh at every turn. I watched some improv and even got on stage. We ate and drank and explored beautiful places. I lived one magical moment at a time.

No need to get there before you get there. It only detracts from what’s right in front of you.

P.S. I’ve been posting more on Instagram. Check it out!

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