Fumbling Around in an AirBNB

Fumbling Around in an AirBNB
Photo by Jp Valery / Unsplash

Anyone who's stayed in an AirBNB knows the feeling. It's the first night, and you wake up needing the bathroom.

As soon as your eyes open, panic sets in.

The room is pitch black and you have no idea where anything is. You can't remember where the bags are, what furniture is in the room, which side the door handle is on, or even exactly where the door is.

You don't dare turn on a light (mostly because you don't know where it is), and your phone is dead because you didn't feel like digging out the charger before going to sleep. And it's vacation – a dead phone is a blessing.

So you get up and start to fumble your way towards the door, treating the bed like Rose treated Jack in Titanic – you'll never let go. You inevitably trip on a bag (that's where we put them), find the dresser with your toes, and land on every creaky floorboard in the room.

But you eventually stumble your way to the door, pray there's a sliver of light in the hallway, and hug the walls until you find where you're going.

The whole process is disorienting, frustrating, and at least partially funny. And it's all pretty much inevitable.

And at no point do we shame ourselves. We would never expect to be able to navigate a dark, unfamiliar house.

So why can't we treat other new things in life the same? So often when we try something new – job, relationship, sport, home project, or hobby – we expect to be at least pretty good when we start.

Even new phases of the familiar are disorienting. Ask anyone who's added a baby to a marriage, a colleague to a close-knit team, or a new friend to a friend group.

Like navigating an AirBNB, change is disorienting, frustrating, and at least partially funny. And it's inevitable.

So if you start a new job and have to use Powerpoint for the first time in 15 years, go easy on yourself (I would know).

If you're a new parent or newly responsible for taking care of a parent, realize that there's no "right" way to do it. You'll figure it out.

If you're starting a new sport or hobby, you're going to absolutely suck for a while. Embrace how bad you are and enjoy the short, steep learning curve.

Change is inevitable. It's a constant in every aspect of our lives. The more we embrace it rather than fight it, the more we can enjoy life. And the less we try to hold onto things as they are.

Change is uncomfortable. But so is waking up blind in a completely new room. You embrace the disorientation and frustration of an AirBNB because you expect nothing else. And you get a vacation out of it.

I don't normally handle change well, so this is as much for myself as for anyone: go easy on yourself when you experience life's changes. Less anxiety and less holding on feels even better than a vacation.

And you won't even have smashed toe to deal with.