Flexible – (adj.) yielding to influence.
Today I visited the chiropractor to alleviate back pain, and of course, along with many physical therapists and physicians, he stressed the lack of flexibility as a main influence for my various physical ailments. However, the flexibility I am talking about is the ability to go with the flow. Wife is not good at this; she gets it honestly, but she plans our summer vacation 365 days in advance. Now, it is not always a bad thing. When wife and I visited Scotland, her itinerary allowed us to travel across Great Britain with peace of mind that we had a place to stay and knew what we wanted to see. The family trip to the Olympic Peninsula when daughter was two yielded the greatest results as I piloted our 30 foot RV through the winding roads of the Pacific Northwest.
Then again, one can be too flexible. During the summer of 1990, I studied abroad in Germany, about 60km southeast of Munich. Arriving early in the small town of Prein am Chiemsee, I discovered that a festival was taking place and literally, there was no room at the inn. Have I heard that somewhere? I wandered about with no German currency, another bright choice, and very little knowledge of the language searching for a place to stay as it got dark. Realizing a park bench might be my next move, an older couple heard of my plight and drove me to an inn 20km outside of town where I spent the first few nights of my journey.
More importantly, though, wife and I need to be more flexible towards son and daughter. Our daughter performs dance and has a rigid schedule throughout the week that we adhere to. Occasionally, we skip, but only if family obligations get in the way. Son goes to school two days a week and is kept by mother-in-law the other three. He is not overly scheduled; in fact, I believe structure helps him be a better child. What I really mean, though, is not sweating the small stuff. If we planned to be at the store by 9:30, why should we care if we don’t make it until 10? Or bedtimes, if son and daughter aren’t in bed at their scheduled 8pm bedtime on the weekend, should it matter?
Structure is key to being happy in our life, but rigidity leads to disappointment. Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory has to sit on the right side of the couch and does not vary his meal selections, going ballistic when the menu changed at Cheesecake Factory. Really, though, we laugh, but how different are you? When you go to your favorite restaurant, do you always choose something new? I think I’ve never eaten but only one dish at Cheesecake Factory.
This morning as I was waking son up to get ready for school, he demanded, “Just one more minute” of sleep and I gave it to him knowing that one minute later he would ask for another. Getting him dressed is difficult on the best morning, but hey, if he wants to wear his favorite pajama shirt to school, shouldn’t I be more flexible?