Saturday, July 21, 2018

Relaxing in Undesirable Places

I have a problem that I think I share with many people. I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel to interesting places and do things there that I enjoy. The problem is one of optimization. I'm only here for two weeks and will probably never come back! Have I used every minute optimally to have experiences that I can't have at home? (Second problem: those three are not the same things.) If you read about maximizers vs. satisficers, you may quickly place yourself on that spectrum and understand the problem that maximizers create for themselves.

Meanwhile, sometimes I travel to places for events that I maybe have been itching to get to anyway, or at least to get back to. A one-day business trip with my wife to Seattle (where I've been a million times - why waste travel opportunities, I have a List!) Or a winter weekend for a friend's wedding in Palm Springs (BTW, most over-rated place in California.) And I don't feel this desperate need to optimize every minute with unique pleasurable experiences. I mean, we stayed overnight in Ontario, California, what pressure could there be on us! And you know what? I relaxed. I enjoyed myself without trying too hard. I end up having a nice breakfast with my wife or browsing in a bookstore and generally just being in the moment. Maybe I do get out on a trail that I didn't realize was there (like the one to Poo Poo Point in the Issaquah Alps) but if not - we go to a library or historical site or just do a driving tour of a park. In Palm Springs, I was a little bummed that it stormed so hard the day before and after the wedding, but glad my friends miraculously had a dry day, and it was also kind of cool seeing Joshua Tree in the blustery fog and rain.

I sometimes daydream about having to go to a conference in Cleveland or Oklahoma City, where I would be able to accidentally relax in the same way.