A friend sent me an email yesterday. It was one of those ‘forwards’. Very unusual for her to do, so I read it. There were some great thoughts in it, about dealing with stress. They all made me stop and think, but I just loved this one:
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
It just made me smile. Because it’s a great philosophy. Because life is always throwing us curves. And we can either find a way to make the best of it, or we can spend most of our time on this earth miserable.
Personally, I prefer ‘happy’.
When my dad died, a colleague sent me a note. It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember everything she said. But I do remember this quote: “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans”.
Our lives are full of surprises. Some pleasant. Some not so much. But we can turn them around. We can turn them into something pleasant. I know, because I’ve done it.
Long, long, long ago I was visiting a friend who lived in New York. My purse was stolen the first day I was there. It was never recovered, and I spent the weekend with no money or credit cards. We were young. She had no money. I suppose we could have stayed in her apartment and moped about. But instead, we went out and explored the city, on foot. We walked everywhere. Including through Central Park. We found all kinds of things we could do for free; and had a great time.
Almost as long ago I was on holiday with another friend, in Miami. A day or two in, I got sun poisoning. So much for going to the beach. Don’t feel too sorry for me, though. The doctor was single. I thoroughly enjoyed that detour.
Trying to buy my first house wasn’t all smooth sailing. Had an offer rejected one time. Lost out on a bidding war the next. After several fruitless searches I realized my ‘wish list’ and my budget weren’t properly aligned. I stepped back for a year. Saved more money. Also ended up earning more money. My priorities changed. My dream house was just sitting there waiting for me, when I decided to try again.
My life has been full of the unexpected. Delays. Cancellations. Misunderstandings. Screw ups. Break ups. Break downs (as in cars breaking down and leaving me stranded). Oversold flights. Reservations not honoured. Bidding wars lost. Roads closed. Doors closed. Doors slammed shut. Offers rejected.
Hell, sometimes it’s been nothing more than getting lost and finding myself nowhere near where I’d planned to be. And with my lousy sense of direction, getting back on the right track was never going to happen. So I explored where I was, instead.
Turned set backs into adventures.
The point is, never expect life to go as planned. There’s a job you won’t get. A flight you’ll miss. A relationship will go bad. A deal won’t go through. A trip will be cancelled. A restaurant will be closed when you get there. A date won’t show up. You’ll burn dinner. You’ll be forced to move. You won’t get into the movie. You’ll be stranded somewhere.
Take a course or learn a new skill while you’re waiting for the next job opportunity. You’ll be worth even more. Do something productive while you’re waiting for another flight. Find another restaurant. You may be pleasantly surprised. It may turn out to be more enjoyable than the first one. How exciting would that be? Can’t get into one movie? Try another.
Make it work for you, is all I’m saying. Make it count for something. Make it positive. Do something constructive. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t moan about it. Don’t be a drama queen (or king).
Listen to Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.