Months ago, a friend and I decided to spend the month of February in Florida. Since I had a time share/vacation plan, I began securing condos, two on the Gulf Coast and two on, or at least near the Atlantic Coast. The process took several phone calls and a little cash but I soon lined up our bases of operation from which we would visit friends and family, and from which we would swim, hike, visit botanical gardens and art museums.
I would drive from my home which is north of my friend’s, pick her up and we would continue together into a warmer climate. Occasionally, we called each other to confirm our travel plans and to add to them details such as what food or clothes we might bring. About a month ago, glitches started to appear on the horizon. One cousin would not be home to visit; my friend’s sister’s mother-in-law was very ill. Knowing that my friend had weathered many a storm such as losing a child ( one out of seven), two husbands, and giving her business to her children to run. I reminded her that we would just remember to be what we both had to do to survive life’s challanges, we would be flixible. I did not mention the following to her, but when ever I am faced with new situations, I try to think of the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome, knowing that the resolution would always be some where in the center, usually with details that I never considered.
A little less than two weeks before we were to leave, my friend called to tell me that she could not go with me to Floriday because she was sick. The illness was not catastophic, but it left her weak. She was afraid that she would not be able to meet the demands of driving, etc. Knowing that my friend had had a serious breakdown a few years earlier, I did not pressure her to reconsider. Instead, hung up the phone, bought an airline ticket and rented a car. Two days later, she called me saying that she hoped that her decision did not mean that I would have to forego the trip. I assured her that I practiced flexibility and found another way to travel alone. She seemed relieved. But, that was not the end of it.
We continued talking. She said that her children were pressuring her to go with me anyway. The sun would do her good. I agreed that she could fly down later. I could pick her up at the airport when she felt up to it. The next day, one of her daughters called me to tell me that they had convinced their mother that she really needed the sun and rest that this trip could provide. A second call from a daughter assured me that their mother’s plane would land in Florida just minutes after mine. I told the daughter that I was pleased at the decision.
Later, I began planning what I would do if my friend had a relapse or just wanted to sit by a pool in the sun. True to form, I imagined the best possible scenario and the worst, knowing that the result would probably be somewhere in the middle. That evening, my friend’s sister called me, telling me that she was flying down to Florida within a day or two of our arrival and that she would pick up her sister (my friend) to stay with her for pretty much the rest of the month.
My thought as of this moment is to keep packing, not change any of my plans, make no decisions about anything – just keeping flexible.