We Have No Idea What is Supposed To Happen
I’m currently supposed to be reading a book at a busy terminal at MSP airport. My flight to London for a two-week journey is supposed to be at 10 pm. I’m supposed to wake up in London tomorrow and meet a friend of a friend who, according to my friend, is a chef at the best fish and chips place.
But who I am to think I know what is supposed to happen?
Minnesota got dumped on with more than a foot of snow today and my flight is cancelled. So here I sit back at my house staring at a computer screen, bags packed, chugging hot chocolate. There are two ways to handle a situation like this. You can get upset or you can breathe and realize that actually, we have no idea what is supposed to happen.
The only thing that is promised is this moment right here. We can plan for the future, prepare for the best and look forward to what’s to come, but things change. The snow falls, people walk away, jobs are lost, flights are cancelled, dreams are crushed, empires will crumble, plans fall through, deadlines are missed. My friend Kamari always says, “life comes at you fast” and this couldn’t be truer. But it’s also not a bad thing. There is a lot of joy in the unexpected.
Imagine a situation where something doesn’t go the way you thought it would but the alternative is actually better. With the right mindset, this can be every situation. Here are four ways to get comfortable with the idea that we have no idea what is supposed to happen:
1. Have Gratitude: My dad drove an hour in the snowstorm to pick me up and bring me to the airport. We bulldozed through snow banks for another hour and then I got the text, “you’re flight has been cancelled,” so we turned around. Was I disappointed at first, yes? But I was also extremely grateful for the opportunity to be where I was. Grateful to have a father who is willing to drive two plus hours just to spend time with his daughter. This one is really important. I have several friends, as I’m sure you do too, who would do anything for an extra two hours with their father. Never take these moments for granted. I am grateful for the money to purchase a plane ticket to another country. Grateful for a safe car, paved roads and the air I breathe.
2. Focus on What’s Added: You can’t control what was lost. In fact, most of the time we won’t be able to answer why. There may be a reason, but it’s not always clear. The one thing that is clear is the abundance that occurs when things don’t go as planned. Focus on the good that wouldn’t have been available if your "supposed to be" had happened. We are rarely lacking more positive options. If I were at the airport right now, I wouldn’t have just caught my neighbor red-handed taking time out of his evening to snow blow my walkways. I wouldn’t have been able to thank him or feel a deep sense of appreciation for my neighborhood. If I were enjoying that book instead of this hot chocolate, I wouldn’t have remembered that my beloved plants needed water and probably would have died while I was gone. Without the opportunity to be home tonight, I’m not sure I would have felt the inspiration to write this post. My Rent the Runway delivery didn’t arrive on time. Verdict is still out on that one, but there is more of a chance now that it arrives before my rescheduled flight. With everything that feels like an L, there is probably an even bigger W.
3. Embrace Uncertainty: Going into each day with an open heart and an open mind is so much fun. Part of the joy in life is not knowing what is going to happen. This allows us to learn, to make mistakes, to take chances, to lean on others, to find out who we truly are. Embrace the uncertainty and use it as an opportunity to live each day to it’s fullest. Wake up and do something new, call a friend, take a risk, surprise yourself. Let uncertainty be the only certain thing in your life because again, we have no idea what is supposed to happen.
4. Timing is Everything: This one is short and sweet. A cancelled flight, a broken heart, a job lost, a long red light, a missed connection – have you ever considered how these path-altering experiences actually set you up for something better? Next time a train delays your arrival time, consider what could have happened if you made it to that next intersection two minutes earlier. Maybe, just maybe, that train saved you from a distracted driver.
Choose joy every single day. Plan for the future, but live for this present moment. Let go of attachments to any outcome and embrace what is being revealed in each situation. Find gratitude and stop trying to control the things you cannot change. We have no idea what is supposed to happen and that’s one of life’s greatest gifts.
Editor’s note: My flight was rebooked for tomorrow afternoon. I’m making a commitment to blog each day about my journey so I hope you’ll follow along. If you have any suggestions for London, Ireland or Paris, please leave them below. Open to other tips too because who knows where this journey will actually lead. :)