Let’s rewind backwards almost eleven years ago. It was my tenth birthday; a cold, snowy day in Illinois. I was ecstatic about finally being double digits. I wonder now why that was so appealing, that whole growing up thing, but I digress. I had the best birthday party all prepared. Since I know you really want to know, the theme (yes, I themed my birthday parties, don’t hate) was winter wonderland. And yes, we decorated our own gingerbread houses. As I said, best birthday party ever. But on our way out the door, we heard someone yell from the basement, and I am NOT kidding, “THERE IS A BAT IN HERE!” No joke guys, there was a BAT in my basement. How did this happen? I haven’t the slightest idea. Ten long minutes later, that bat had been caught in a garbage bag and put out of its misery. Not me though, the birthday girl was in plenty of misery, because she just saw a bat die. On her birthday. Seriously?
Why do I remember this birthday so specifically? Is it because I turned ten? Or because of the best party ever? Or because of the fact that there was A BAT IN MY BASEMENT?!
Two of these experiences were expected, anticipated, and planned for. The third was the complete opposite. I wonder sometimes though, which experiences do we remember more? Is it the ones we planned for, or the ones that just happen?
Unexpected experiences can make for some of the best memories and the funniest stories. Wrong turns, delayed flights, unplanned adventures, bats in your basement, and other unforeseen events can be the most fun, or at least the most memorable.
The problem I find myself in at times is not seeing the unexpected as exciting in the moment. To me, a wrong turn normally means that I need to get back on track ASAP; a delayed flight means I need to figure out my next move, and unplanned adventures are just too spontaneous.
I need to get myself to a place where a wrong turn can be a new road, a delayed flight can be time to explore, and unplanned adventures are blessings in disguise. Because really, isn’t that what they are? My best friend ALWAYS teases me with her one saying, “Live a little, Gabs! Just live a little!” That phrase has made so many unplanned adventures become fun memories.
So next time you have an unexpected something happen, see it as an opportunity to make a memory. Also, if you find a bat in your basement, please make sure that it is NOT endangered before helping it get to bat heaven. And if you start to see unplanned adventures as chaotic, stressful, or just not fun let me tell you all to, “Just live a little!”