GRAND FINALES! … Growing up I missed them all. My dad was obsessed with crowds and traffic so we always left everything early. It didn’t matter if it was an ice-skating show, the circus, a fireworks displays… you name it. The minute my dad sniffed a grand finale in the making, he would whisk us outta there so we could beat the “mad rush.”
I’ll never forget one particular afternoon we were at a Washington Redskins football game. We were having a great time even though they were losing.. as usual. It may have been the beginning of the fourth quarter, I can’t really remember, but my dad suddenly decided it was time to pack up and go. “We’ve got to beat the traffic!” he yelled over the crowd’s cheering as he ushered us out of the stadium and down to his car. What happened next is something I’ll never forget. As we headed back home to Annapolis, my dad had the radio tuned into the game. For the duration of our ride we got to listen as the Redskins came from behind and staged one of the biggest come-back wins in franchise history.
Not one of us kids dared say a word.
Exitology…that’s what I call the practice of living with one foot out the door. My dad had it in spades and I inherited that trait as well. Whether it’s rooted in the fear of commitment, the fear of being stuck, or simply impatience or boredom, restlessness or anxiety, the result is that we miss out on some of life’s greatest moments because we are so focused on the “exit door.”
Practicing mindfulness has done wonders for me as I try to absorb myself in the here and now, completely appreciating experiences as they unfold and redirecting my inward thinking to outward living. Soaking in the fullness of each moment and investing in those around me instead of myself, makes it pretty difficult to simultaneously obsess over thoughts like “How do I get myself out of this?”
Another important antidote has been recognizing the importance of commitment and the desire to do things “right” and see things through. My husband is the captain of the Varsity team in this area. I’m not sure if it’s nature or nurture with him, but at 18 he signed papers that committed the next 9 years of his life to the military; pretty impressive for a teenager. The important second part of that equation is that once he commits to something he’s all in. This is a key pillar in our marriage and the basis for the complete trust I have in this honorable man.
It’s taken me quite a few years to extricate myself from the tenets of Exitology. Changing a learned mindset can be challenging, but the rewards have been so worth it…..peace, acceptance, confidence, openness and many, many, beautiful grand finales!