Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

I used to sort of roll my eyes when people would make plans and decisions around the weather forecast or how many left turns were involved. But last weekend my husband and kids and I were driving back from a trip east and, as it started to get dark in the snowy mountainous roads of West Virginia, I felt the nagging urge to pull off for the night. Then, when we arrived home to find the back entrance of our neighborhood re-opened after being closed for about two months, I whooped with joy. Why? Because that means I no longer have to make a left turn out of the front entrance of our neighborhood in the mornings to get my kids to school – a task which has been known to have me sitting for up to ten minutes watching rush hour traffic zoom by.


As it turns out, these more practical considerations become more important as… as what? As we get older? As we have kids? I’m not quite sure – I just know it’s happening to me. I got absurdly excited recently when I had the perfect assortment of discounts and coupons for Kohl’s that allowed me to score a pair of boots for under ten bucks. I also find myself usually saying no to bubble gum and yes to casseroles.    I get satisfaction from getting the car washed. I leave lots of time to spare when heading to the airport. And I just can’t bother to keep up with the comings and goings of Honey Boo Boo.

Yep, I’ve become practical. Now, truth be told, I’ve always been a bit of a home-body so it’s not like this turn of events is exactly shocking, it’s just fascinating. I guess I always assumed that joy over a 2-for-1 special at a local restaurant wouldn’t strike me until my hair was gray (oh… wait).

I was talking to a friend the other day who has a new baby, and he was commenting on how before he and his wife had kids they imagined they would be cool parents, not those parents… those parents that worry and dote and have rules and over-protect.  Then they had their baby, and started realizing that all those things that seemed over-the-top to them before just seem like the basic and practical ways to keep their child safe now. With kids, the things that are important become so different. Watching the game takes a back seat to installing a safety gate. Going to a restaurant is contingent upon timing and the availability of high chairs and a good kids menu. “Nice” furniture is less relevant than stain resistant, durable, and comfortable offerings.

So, if you’ve been hiding your growing talent to find the best price on laundry detergent in town, be ashamed no more. Shout it out loud, oh new and practical you.   But if you find yourself laughing at the family member who will drive across town to get the best price on gas, it may be that your “practical” tipping point is just around the corner. There are benefits to both ways of looking at the world.

How do you look at the world? Do you avoid left turns or do you arrive at the airport minutes before departure? Either way, be you – unapologetically you.

Gotta go—they are giving away free keychains at the bank today.


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.