I had a plan today to sit this evening and write my weekly article, to publish my latest blog to share with you.
Funny how the best laid plans can suddenly go awry.
Or more correctly, in my case, simply change.
This morning I boarded a bus bound for a town which lies three hours from my home. I am staying with a friend for the next few days and arranged to meet her at approximately 1.30pm. As my partner was giving me a ride to the bus station, I in fact caught a much earlier bus than originally planned.
Arriving at my destination at just after 11am, I find myself sitting in a cafe at the local supermarket with a couple of hours to spare. In my case, this interlude was not entirely unexpected but I had underestimated the amount of time I would need to fill before meeting my friend.
So here I sit, listening to Elton John on the radio, surrounded by people having lunch, their voices murmuring, rising and falling with conversation, the occasional shriek coming from a young child who feels momentarily neglected, and the blare of six television screens advertising a video game, music album for sale and latest product that the supermarket urges me to purchase.
Tucked into a cosy corner with my laptop on the table in front of me, I write these words and think about the benefits of unexpected moments. Those moments where, as Robert Burns once said, ‘the best laid schemes of mice and men’ simply do not come together perfectly.
Sometimes the best and most memorable moments in life are those ones which come unexpectedly and take your breath away – Allanah Hunt
Not that this particular moment is anything extraordinary or as yet incredible.
I don’t know how the rest of my day will go, I will never see again the faces which currently surround me, perhaps this moment in time will slither away into the far recesses of my mind, never to be remembered and yet right here and now, I embrace this moment as an unexpected gift.
I could stand outside in the cold and curse the fact that my partner’s work schedule meant that I had to catch an earlier bus. I could pace around, bored and irritated as I await my friend’s arrival such that when I see her, I have wound myself up such that I spoil our time together.
Instead I choose to take this moment as a brilliant chance to write my article sooner in the day, to free up my evening to spend with my friend, to have the chance to do both with passion and presence.
If not for this moment in time, I would probably have to make a choice.
Spend time with my friend or … write my blog.
Thanks to this moment, I can do both.
Perhaps I could have taken advantage of the time on the bus to write my article.
This morning before I left home, I purchased an ebook to read on the trip. In my rush to leave the house however, I forgot to go to my Kindle app and actually download the book to my device. With no Wifi on the bus, and with the knowledge that reading a print book (which I had in my bag) would make me nauseous, I instead went back through the various books I had stored on my iPad.
I found one I had started several months ago but never finished and its message reminded me of some principles that we can apply to our lives everyday. The power of choice is ours in each and every moment even when we forget to actively use it.
So with these words ringing in my ears, I made a choice to use these few precious moments wisely. To not only find a quiet spot to write but to use my experiences of today to demonstrate clearly the gifts and opportunities that constantly surround us if only we are open to embracing them.
If I had taken a wee bit more time this morning to download the new ebook, I would have missed the clear and concise reminders in the book I read instead.
If not for my partner’s work schedule, I would have caught a later bus and instead of having this fabulous moment in time to write my article, I would have felt torn later today when I know I would have chosen time with my friend over writing my article. My stress levels would rise as I have a full day of work ahead of me tomorrow and finding space to write would have been a challenge.
Instead, I have been offered a gift. A precious couple of unexpected clear hours in which to clarify my thoughts, to compose this article and to enable me to focus on my time with my friend for the rest of the day.
How many precious moments do we miss as we doggedly follow a schedule?
How often do we choose to be irritated when things don’t go exactly as planned instead of looking for the possibilities that exist within the unknown?
What if we make a different choice?
What if instead of trying to control everything around us, we learned to embrace each and every moment along the way? To allow life to unfold in front of us, to embrace the unexpected and live in spontaneity?
What if instead of feeling stress in those unexpected moments we embraced them as a gift?
What might we discover then?
Who might you meet as you find yourself in an unfamiliar place?
What discoveries might you make as you wander off the well worn path and for just a moment in time, find yourself suspended in an unexpected moment?
Those people you meet, those faces you see may in fact provide inspiration for your next business idea. The break from your schedule may just put you in the path of an opportunity you may never have discovered on your own.
One unexpected moment that you decide to embrace could have the power to change your life for the better.
What will you do the next time you find yourself with time on your hands?
How will you treat the time you would perhaps have previously seen as wasted or unproductive?