Expect the unexpected, because something will happen. Always.
When I was newly back from Israel, I took a three-day weekend from my new job to visit friends in San Diego. I bought a carry-on bag (I love luggage). Got tickets to San Diego — not easy because flights to California from New York typically end in Oakland, SF, or LA — none of which are close to San Diego. I finally found one with just a single connection. That was as good as it would get, so I took it along with all my vacation time at work.
I got to La Guardia on time and ready to go, but the plane never made it. Four hours later, the plane was MIA and my connecting flight in Salt Lake City came and went without me. I demanded my money back
The perky young thing at the ticket counter explained, “These are non-refundable tickets. See? It says so right here. We can get you on a flight to Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon. How’s that?” My sense of humor had gone missing with my aircraft.
“Los Angeles is more than 3 hours drive from San Diego and I don’t have a car. By the time I got there — if I got there — I’d have to turn around and come straight back. I’ve paid for taxis and lost my holiday time. All I got is a long day in your waiting room. Either get me on a plane for San Diego now or give me my money back.”
I got the refund. Took a taxi home. Spent the long weekend feeling sorry for myself. I never made it San Diego, though I did see those friends a few years later — at least for a couple of hours. But, eventually, we lost touch. Distance only makes the heart grow fonder if there is a likelihood of ever seeing that person again. Otherwise, after a while, there seems no point in fighting to retain a connection.
Our fondest illusion is that we are in control. Architects of our destiny. That’s the promise we get from our parents while we are growing up. It goes hand in glove with the big lie, that if you do “life” right, you are sure to get what you want. All you have to do is keep trying. We know — because “they” told us — that good work will be rewarded. Kindness will be returned. If we eat right, keep fit, and exercise we’ll be healthy. Forever. Bad things won’t happen to us.
From the little stuff — flights cancelled, vacations rained out — to failed marriages and careers crashed, life strips us of illusions. But what’s left is real, solid, and true. Is that such a bad thing?
We are passengers on the bus that is life. We aren’t driving. We don’t even know what road we’re on, or our destination. Sometimes, it’s worth reconsidering your options. Stop trying to wrestle the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands. The bus is going where it’s going. Enjoy the ride.
Life is not about where you end up. It’s about the journey.