Sunday. April 15th. 5pm
I have no idea how it is that I came to be sitting here, at this table, with these people. The afternoon sure hasn’t transpired according to plan. The last thing I knew, I was headed to meet some friends for a quick lunch rendezvous and then I’d be off to run some errands, take a nap, and hopefully start my new book. But that was 3 hours ago, and, here I sit. With a smaller group of the same friends from lunch. After having all quickly ran into a furniture store downtown, emblazoned with multi-colored paint splashed across their windows and larger-than-life words that read “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS FOREVER,” “EVERYTHING MUST GO,” “BIGGEST SALE YET!” and other equally dramatic slogans. And now happily hanging out on the sun-soaked patio of a Starbucks, sipping on… you guessed it… a black coffee, and telling each other stories of fist fights, stolen laptops and vehicles broken into, picking up hitchhikers and saving damsels in distress. And mysterious men pulling our out-of-gas cars from the snow banks where they were lodged. You know, everyday kind of stuff ;)
And you know what, as I swallow another swig of my coffee and lean back in my chair the way my mother always told me not to, I am so glad that this afternoon didn’t transpire according to plan. Looking around the table at the faces of these friends of mine, hearing stories that tell pieces of their lives I’ve not known before, and sharing laughter together, I think about the doors of experience and the unexpected memories that are created by the courage to be spontaneous. I reflect on other times in my life when things simply didn’t go “according to plan,” and wonder to myself what other types of opportunities and experiences spontaneity was offering to me but I had failed to recognize because they weren’t as simple and safe as furniture store sales and Starbucks patios. How many other friendly faces, what unknown pieces of people’s lives, will I miss in my pursuit of the perfectly executed plan?
And I make a decision. Right here, at 5pm on a Sunday afternoon that has pleasantly surprised my socks off, I resolve once again to be courageous enough to be present in every moment of my life. Planned or not. To be brave enough to stop manipulating my own life out of fear of the unexpected and the unknown.
Because life is what is happening right now.
And right now, I’m sitting on a patio and surrounded by friends and I couldn’t be happier about it.
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