So, there I was, running through the rain to get to the car (duh, it's Amsterdam!). As I got in, I texted my husband these exact words “I probably shouldn’t be driving in this weather”. Here are the reasons why.
- I have a driver’s license from Florida. Not only does it not count here but my 16 years of driving experience mean NOTHING when it comes to what it takes to drive in Amsterdam. In Florida, the only thing you need to watch out for are 16-year-old and 90-year-old drivers. Here, I have to make sure I don’t hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist since they each have their own lanes and right of way. I also need to make sure I don’t get crushed by a tram or rammed by a bus.
- I do not understand what many of the signs mean as they are nonexistent in Florida. Many o’times I went the wrong way down a one-way street, and even many more times, I narrowly avoided doing just that. There aren’t even one-way streets in Florida, there’s too much space!
- It was raining.
Yes, I’m that person who drives wayyyyyy slower when it rains. ESPECIALLY when I need to watch out for people, bikes, trams, buses, and the whole cavalry. The next thing I know I'm crashing into half the city! So, anyway, I start driving and I get there at 11:50. I’m super excited to find a parking spot on the street, and I take my time to parallel park. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to get there early because free spots are not easy to come by and my parallel parking skills suck. Did I mention that I didn't kill anyone yet?
Whoa, now what do I do with all this time I have?!
Scroll through social media of course! La la la la. At 11:57, I realize that I have to pay for parking. DUH. I get out and look for the parking meter which is all the way back at the beginning of the street (I’m almost halfway). I quicken my pace and make it to the meter. It asks me for the license plate number. Uh, what? I go back to the car to take a picture of it since it’s not mine. It’s about 12:05 now. I’m starting to panic inside.
I HATE being late.
It’s one of my biggest pet peeves (and my husband’s…that is, me having this pet peeve). I go back to the parking meter and pay the unacceptable amount of 6$ for an hour and make my way to the massage place which is almost at the opposite end of the street. I make it through the door at 12:12. At that point, I still have to take off my shoes, wash my hands (protocol), talk to the masseuse, take off my clothes, and lay down.
There you have it, I'm late.
Why am I telling you this story? Because no matter how well you might prepare for something, until you see it all the way through, your good intentions are for naught. If you pat yourself on the back too quickly and become lackadaisical with yourself, you might oversee some key details that will eventually do you in. This tends to also happen with Social Anxiety. Just when you think you beat it, you forget to manage one emotion, and it all comes roaring back. This is the thing with getting too comfortable, or with being too early... you stop paying attention to the details needed to cross the finish line. The ones that eventually do you in.
So, whatever it is that you have to do, even something as innocent as making it to a massage appointment, make sure you lay out all the steps you need to take in order to succeed. I didn’t think about paying for parking or what it took to actually pay, which is where I lost most of the time.
If I think about a time when my Social Anxiety came back, it was because I didn’t maintain the same level of internal alertness. I let my emotions slide and my thoughts intervene, thinking that I had it all handled no matter what. Make sure you cover yourself all the way through,
P.S. Don't be this guy.