I used to be a little, well, intense. Uptight. Uptense.
That’s not really a surprise coming from the girl who wrote the grammar book. I played basketball most of my life, and I had a good -- methodical, reliable -- shot. Give me a play and I could run it perfectly, brush by the screen, peel off and hit my shot. Too bad most of the game – or life – doesn’t unfold according to the play. There are more variables than can be addressed by any one play.
In the past few years, though, I've relaxed some as I learned something important. With a lot of things in life, giving up a little control can lead to a better experience. Traveling is one example: you don’t get story-worthy experiences if you stick too closely to the plan. It’s the twists in the road -- the unexpected detours, the times when the Mykonos hostel was overbooked and you ended up sleeping on the beach, or you missed your flight and went walking and met the French family next door who entertained you for hours -- that are worth writing about. The trip isn't ruined by those things.
The same principle is also true with things like dancing, or riding passenger on a motorcycle. Risk looking stupid in public; if you’ve already decided to get on, trust the driver. Lean into the curves, and you’ll have a better ride.