A Three Hour Tour

A Three Hour Tour

Recently, my family went to cheer on our Louisville Cardinals en route to the College World Series. (Go Cards!) We planned to stay for the whole game, but 3 hours in we were only in the sixth and the pace was slow and we were getting sunburned and our potty-training 3-year-old had already been to the bathroom 5 times.

The Cards were leading 7-2. My husband said, “they’ve got this, right?” and we rapped the bleachers since there was no wood to knock on and herded everybody out of there.

(Embarrassing conversation with my dad: Did you listen to the rest on the radio? Uh, no, we followed it on twitter. Like we do.)

That night my husband surprised me with a newly hatched philosophy: the 3 hour rule.

He’d been having a great time at the game, he said, but after 3 hours, he was ready to go. And he realized that when he could choose, he preferred to keep his recreational expeditions under 3 hours. And I realized that sounded pretty good to me.

And that’s how our family’s 3 hour rule was born.

There is power in awareness: knowing 3 hours is ideal makes planning so much easier. Making plans stresses us out: at least we have one parameter that’s already set. And we’ll enjoy ourselves more if we customize our plans to account for our ideal time.

We’re letting the 3 hour rule reign for a while to see how it goes. Time will tell if it proves to be a permanent fixture or a stage of life thing: we have young kids, they get tired, they get hungry.

But I’m thinking personality is also a factor: my husband is an introvert—though a sociable one, like me—and crowds are draining for both of us. Personality resists change.

But rules are made to be broken: the very next day we spent 6 hours out and about for a wedding and had a perfectly lovely time.

This is about awareness, not hard and fast rules. And now that we’re aware of our magic 3 hour mark, I’m curious to see how it plays out this summer.

Have you paid attention to which kinds of expeditions you enjoy the most? What works best for you?

P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    Oh, you clever girl! I’d never thought of this in exactly this way, but YES. With the exception of my uber-extrovert, Lissy, three hours is a sweet spot for us, too. Now my wheels are spinning thinking about how I’d implement that on an upcoming day trip to Sturbridge Village that I’ve been dreading. Maybe three hours a.m. and three hours p.m. with a nice long lunch at a local state park? Hmmmm….

    • Anne says:

      I’m so glad it works for you! And yes, a day outing like that would make me uneasy, too–I’d love to hear if you come up with a brilliant strategy. 🙂

  2. Esther says:

    Are you following the game tonight? Louisville seems a little off tonight and it’s making us a bit on edge!

  3. Breanne says:

    I love this. Such a gentle but good rule of thumb. I’m more introverted then my husband and we have two littles so three hours is normally good enough for us as well. Unless we’re sans kids then we stay out as long as we can. 😉

  4. Joani says:

    This is just further confirmation that you are a blogger that I can relate to; I’m finally catching up on blogs and am glad to realize I’m not the only one following the College World Series. We’ve been cheering on our home-team (Oregon State) who just knocked Louisville out today. I wish I was sad about that for your sake :). We love going to baseball games but found we can last longer at softball games since families can sit in the outfield and kiddos can run around. I think the rule could be scaled depending on how active we can be.

  5. Kathryn Hall says:

    This is such a good idea. I’m highly introverted and find that when I’m holiday packing too much in can leave me drained rather than relaxed. Having an awareness of how long I can keep going before my energy flags is so important (yesterday I was at a party and lasted 5 hours, I reckon that’s about my limit) Thanks for sharing 🙂

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