Last Saturday evening my husband and I took the long way home from our nephew’s birthday party. We drove through our old neighborhood and stopped at a favorite coffee shop where they just happened to be showing a world premiere of a movie about biking called, Inspired to Ride. Before the movie they screened several short films featuring all the amazing trails for biking and hiking in Richmond. I’ll be honest — my Paris trip didn’t entirely cure that gray winter disillusionment I wrote about a few weeks ago. These short films were a great reminder of all that is alive and wonderful about where I live.
The films also inspired us to get on our bikes and go for a ride on Sunday. While we were out, we ran into a friend and joined him on the patio at a local brewery. More and more of his friends and neighbors kept joining our party. I had met one of his friends last summer (also on a Sunday, at a brewery) and we had talked about my books. She enthusiastically told me she had read both novels and that I needed to write more. I’ve been busy with some non-actual-writing writer things recently. Her enthusiasm was just what I needed to inspire me to work harder at protecting my creative time and getting those next stories out into the world.
Earlier this year the intern working with me brought up a theory of career development that she studied called Planned Happenstance. It sounds totally contradictory– the idea of planning for chance, but in a nutshell it just means being open to opportunities and experiences that might influence the course of your life. (Click here for a full academic citation if you, like me, enjoy such things.) Ever since I became aware of it, I’ve noticed instances of it all around me. Sometimes exactly what you need in the moment comes from taking the long way home and pulling your dusty bike out of the garage.
I would love to hear about your planned happenstances in the comments below. If you’ve never commented before, take a chance! Maybe you’ll inspire a conversation that will be exactly what you need today …