No matter how invincible I might think I am, no matter how determined I might be to do it all, there are times when I have to face reality and admit defeat.
Some years ago, over coffee, one of my besties GM put a question to me. If I’d paid €100 for a concert ticket and it was crap, would I stay to the end or leave half way through? €100 is a lot of money in my world. And that level of investment would warrant that I get a bang for my buck. So I said I’d stay.
Then she asked why I would throw good money after bad, compound my loss by further wasting my time? mmm… I hadn’t thought of that but it made sense. So I resolved, if the occasion arose in the future, to cut my losses and leave.
But it’s easier said than done. As I learned this week.
Way back in March I decided that I wanted to travel somewhere big to mark my 50th. We decided on Cuba. We booked the tickets to depart for Havana on 6 September. In the interim, life got busy. It’s always busy, but September began to morph into a manic month. We have visitors coming for the wine festival. They leave Monday and we’re scheduled to fly Tuesday. Then the house finally came through (another story) and we need to close on that by the 25th. And then we’re off to Slovakia on a four-day train trip through the Tatras (a lovely b’day present from the even lovelier MI). And in the meantime, there are deadlines, lots of deadlines, way too many deadlines. And we’d be effectively offline for two weeks during it all.
The Cuban Embassy has been closed for a couple of months and doesn’t open till 1 September so we still have no visas. We have nothing planned or booked and no time or bandwidth to do any research.
When I added up what we’d spent so far on flights, factored in what we’d need to have in pocket to do Cuba justice, and what we’d not be earning by being out of work for two weeks, it didn’t make sense.
So the question – cut my losses or go regardless?
Cuba has always been high on my list of places to see. And it’s changing. The old Cuba will soon be but a distant memory. But we’ve made no preparations, done little by way of research, are clueless as to what to expect, and by all accounts the Communist system of organised chaos reigns supreme. How would my already fraught nerves cope with that, I wondered.
The last time I faced this problem was South Africa. The volcano in Iceland was playing havoc with flights and I was up to my tonsils in work, facing two weeks of being offline. I had decided that if my flight was cancelled, I’d be all the happier. It wasn’t. I coped with being offline. And I had one of the most memorable holidays ever beneath the African sky. Would Cuba be the same?
I made a coffee and sat myself down for a chat. I asked myself how disappointed I would be if I didn’t get to Cuba next week. On a scale from 1 to 10. I registered a 2. I then asked myself how far I’d have to push myself to do everything that needed to be done in the next 10 days and was shocked at how close I came to bawling. Sometimes, I really need a reality check.