Wherever You Go

We leave in 4 days.  My husband has no more shaving crème; I’ve run out of coffee. The bar of soap in our shower is perilously thin.  A new family moved into the apartment upstairs.  They have at least 300 kids, all them intent on throwing bowling balls across living room and bedroom—especially before 5 am.  And that’s the best thing I’ve found to say about this apartment in the past 6 weeks. So I’m ready to go home.  Back to my regular routines, my house where no one lives above me.

Of course, 6 weeks after I get home, I’ll be hungering to be somewhere else.  Anywhere else.  That’s because, even with all proof to the contrary, I will feel that if I could only get away from what I know, I would somehow accomplish more.

My husband’s favorite movie is “Buckaroo Banzai” (should I be admitting that in public?) and his favorite line is “Wherever you go, there you are.” While I don’t share Geoff’s enthusiasm for the movie, there is a stark truth in that line.

What I don’t do where I live, I will rarely do when I am somewhere else.  Or if I do, it will be a one-time, tourist-type event that will change me or my habits not at all.

Which is not to say that getting out of your comfort zone or going on vacations are bad things.  Au contraire.  They are very good, necessary things.  And they can help you to see things from new and different angles.

Like any other change, it takes deliberation.  The change of scenery isn’t the magic.  That’s your willingness to look at things through a somewhat more demanding eye.  But if I have spent exactly zero time organizing my computer files in the past year, it is fantasy to assume that in a 6-week period where I still have my regular work AND will want to be out exploring London, I will find the time to do it now.  Unless I am wiling to do the hard work that change requires.

Or one could take artist Mary Engelbreit’s advice:  “If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.”

I love it.  I will no longer think of my so-called filing system as a disaster.  Instead, it is a complex puzzle meant to challenge a sophisticated mine.  And, of course, I do not procrastinate—nor, I’m sure, do you.  We simply, elegantly take the time to process things before we jump into the fray.


Janet Levine is a consultant, coach, teacher and writer who works with nonprofits and other organizations, helping them to build their capacity.  Learn more at her website, http://janetlevineconsulting.com.