I was so excited to get on a plane this morning for San Diego. With an 8:30 am departure, I envisioned a whole, sunny day in southern California by myself without any interruptions, just solitude.
And then there was a mechanical problem with the plane that resulted in a 3-hour delay.
Certainly it wasn’t how I wanted my day to go. But I’ve lived long enough to realize that so much of life is outside of my control. Did I really want the alternative, to fly on a damaged plane and possibly endanger myself and all the passengers and crew? Of course not.
But I wanted my carefully planned itinerary to come off easily. Get to my destination, embark on a day of wandering and exploration, and relax.
I think life’s biggest lessons come when things don’t go the way we want. Yes, you plan to marry for life. You want a specific number of children, with names all picked out. You want to hit a certain salary by a certain age and retire when you don’t feel like working anymore and travel the world.
What a pretty picture.
The thing about life is that it unfolds before you. There is a bigger plan, one that most of us are not clued into. And that means that life is in the details, the moments, and how we react to them.
So I wandered into the nearest little airport restaurant and sat down for a hot breakfast. It was OK – not the best food I ever ate, but sustaining at the very least.
At the table beside me, I met a lovely couple who live 2 miles from me and whose daughter attends the same school as my kids. Lo and behold, the husband-wife team may need help with PR. Imagine the coincidence.
Except there are no coincidences, right?
I finished my breakfast and meandered over to a vacant bench of seats and plugged in my laptop. Pushing the on button, I decided to tackle the hours of work I had laid out on a to-do list for the plane. Get it done now, I figured, and have the plane ride to relax. Or read. Or meditate.
I achieved several of the big items during the 2 hours I waited for an update. Then the gate agent paged the flight crew back to the gate for boarding and I hopped up excitedly, eager to begin my vacation.
Except my journey began when I left the house before the sunrise.
The journey is every step of the way, not just when the plane takes off into the sky.
I’ve been in the air now for a good three hours, maybe longer. We are set to land in about an hour. I’ve achieved pretty much all the work I set out to do. I even got to write a new blog which was long overdue. I’m listening to my favorite music, oblivious to the bumps and tosses of a typical plane flight and ignorant of the impatience of people who walk by my seat.
It all works out. It always does. The journey is the destination, I must always remember.
Little everyday moments, glances, words and hugs, that’s what makes a life. Not the big ticket items. It’s the little things, all the many little things. If you’re in too much of a rush to get from point A to point B, you’ll certainly miss them.