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.