Back in February I was visiting Angie in San Marcos. We had absolutely nothing planned — except for a jam session in the car and a concert later that weekend — so it was kind of perfect. When I was about an hour out, she called me with our first and only real plan for that evening. We were going to a poetry slam. Funny enough, a guy she ran into at a coffee shop suggested it to her and with nothing to do — it sounded like an OK night. When I finally got there, we discussed whether or not this was a good idea, questioned how boring we were for spending a Thursday night doing this, and then hesitantly made our way to the poetry slam that we knew nothing about.
Walking in was weird. Where do we sit? Do we snap? Clap? The confusion was high and the expectation was low. However, once we stopped thinking so much and started listening — it all started to make sense. When we left, we realized we needed to be there more than they needed our presence. People shared stories about love, loss, happiness, and sometimes threw random words together to make us laugh for the sake of easing the mood for everyone. It was nice and we left wondering — how is it possible that we stumble into these little moments and do so with so much doubt?
Fast forward a few months and I’m on vacation with B and her family. It was a seven day cruise that felt like two weeks — in a good way. On one of the last nights there I had a little too much to drink and decided pretty abruptly that I was going to go back to the room and sleep it off. I grabbed my bag, slurred — definitely not said — bye, and then headed towards the elevators. When I got there, someone else was standing there waiting for the elevator too. We both walked in and then proceeded to get off on the same floor. I can’t remember the exact moment in which we decided it would be a good idea to grab a late night snack with a stranger but we did. We spent the night talking about random things — work, life, and some topics I can’t remember. What I do remember though is telling this person a lot of things that I had not realized I was feeling until in that moment. Until I said it all out loud. What started as a small interaction at an elevator with a stranger eventually turned into a way for me to deal with things in my life that I had been putting off.
Since these seemingly strange encounters, I have questioned the capacity of some of these little moments and often wonder what would happen if we walked around without acknowledging them. If we hadn’t decided to go to a random poetry night with a room filled with strangers, what would my perspective be like today? If I didn’t walk to that elevator at that exact moment, would I still be sitting in the same place? I have the answers to those questions and I am lucky that I do. But what about the other moments I passed up?
While I am still trying to figure out if that is something that is out of our control, the one thing I can say is this — if you see the moment or opportunity, grab it and run. If it lasts a second, a day, a year — just seize it. It’s OK to stop in your tracks and just roll with whatever moments life chooses to throw at you — big or small.