18. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
I used to be the most prepared person in the world. Ever. With my Mary Poppins bottomless bag, I was on hand to rescue any situation. On venturing anywhere, I would run through every possible scenario that could evolve through the day and the potential results so that I could be ready for them.
It was exhausting.
I was overly over prepared, both physically and mentally. And for every positive potential outcome during the day, there would always be a negative potential outcome which I’d also run through completely in my head. it got to the point where the stress of very unlikely situations was making me nervous. Silly, right?
And then stuff happened. My mum died. The best advice I have ever been given to this day is still ‘take it an hour at a time’. When your life changes forever in the space of a second, it’s hard to look much further forward than that. I stopped going through all the potential consequences, packing for a natural disaster. Money, keys and Ibuprofen. That’s all you really need.
Then more stuff happened. Our daughter was born. And while I did revert back to packing enough everything to last a week even for a trip to the shops, I soon got my head back to normal and began preparing for regular eventualities rather than obscure ones.
Little L has just turned two so heading out is a much easier affair these days. Nappies, wipes, drink, money, keys, Ibuprofen. Money is pretty important unfortunately. It can’t buy you happiness, but by golly, it can enable a trip to Tescos to buy nappies, wipes and a new set of clothes should they be needed in the case of a bottom explosion, or entry to a farm to bust those afternoon blues, or a picnic when we receive a happy phone call from friends heading to a park.
So now we go with the flow. We have an idea of what’s happening for the day but other than that, we see where the world takes us.
It’s a much nicer place without the Mary Poppins bag.