I like to think that it is all very good exercise for the brain, that I’m developing new neural pathways, stimulating previously underused synapses, encouraging neuroplasticity.
I am also a bit extra tired. And maybe a little less patient with those around me.
They are also a bit extra tired. And maybe a little more anxious that the adults seem a little bit lost.
I recognize that I have a big value of Competence. I like to be competent, and at the very least, to appear competent. And I value competence in others, for sure. It is perhaps a value that I overemphasize at times.
This trip reminds me to lean into that value a little bit less. Instead, I am finding some value in embracing incompetence.
I am allowing myself to not have an answer, to figure things out as I go, to wander around a little lost and trust that it is simply part of the experience.
And it is so freeing! I can let go a little of the zipped up, shit-together mindset and focus more on exploring, noticing, wondering. It feels like turning my inner-librarian into my inner-kindergartner. (of course, I know many librarians who also enjoy noticing, exploring, curiosity and wonder...but let’s just go with it.)
The best part, I have realized, is that I can introduce my kids to this part of myself and call on their inner-kindergartners to come out and play.
Today we took a bike ride on a set of small roads. I checked the map a few times to make sure we were headed where I thought we were headed. I noticed my oldest getting nervous as I looked at the map again. So, I put my phone away. “Let’s see what we find up here…” I said, instead.
The small dirt road turned into more of a cart path of loose gravel. Uphill on uneven gravel wasn’t much fun. The way back down was even less fun; we were sliding more than riding. Maybe it wasn’t the best route, after all. I sensed the complaining about to commence, and I felt myself tighten up.
The youngest and I decided to get off our bikes and walk them. We began to notice the smallest details - the persistence of an old rusted sign, no longer legible; the hum of bees buzzing around the Queen Anne’s lace at the edge of the farm field; the sway of the grasses, catching the sunlight; the solidity of the little building set back by itself. There was nothing to figure out, nowhere else to be in that moment.
We had stumbled upon the simple beauty of a summer day in the countryside.
What is your relationship with competence? How do you feel about figuring it out as you go? In what ways do these values serve you? And how might you benefit from stretching out of your comfort zone?
*** if you are interested in receiving my blog posts to your Inbox, please click the button below. ***