About a week ago, a very odd thing happened: I had a night go against everything I planned. Everything came apart pretty well; after a happy hour I was sort of hosting collapsed, the rest of the night spiraled in an odd direction as well. The evening ended up culminating in an odd event for me: being in a bar alone.
I was supposed to meet some friends to go two-stepping (I can hardly step regularly, let alone on a dance floor), and when I arrived on time, I was told by every friend that something had come up: one had to go to the airport, one had a dinner, someone told me the wrong start time, etc. And yet the evening was so perfect.
You see, one thing I’ve found in my adult life is that I operate very well when forced into a situation where it’s just me against the world. That could be as simple as just going on an interview, where I find I perform well when challenged; or when I had to go to the middle of East Texas for three weeks in my first holiday season in retail. Much like my evening two-stepping, I found that I was quite capable of making new friends and doing fine with no one familiar around.
Twenty minutes and three quesadillas into my time in East Texas, I made a new friend at the bar where I was sitting. I hung out with that guy, just meeting random strangers for two weeks, and then spent my last week hanging out with a college friend who was home for the holidays. In a similar fashion, when I arrived to two-step, I was initially devastated when the first text flew in saying I was an hour early. I was far from home and wasn’t going to just leave or awkwardly stand in a corner. So I walked up to a guy who looked like he’d seen more of this country setting than I had, and before I knew it, we’d spent thirty minutes talking. Soon, he’d shown me what to do with my feet and we started asking girls to dance. About seven dances and as many girls later, my friends still hadn’t shown up, but I didn’t care. I was just glad to have found something new I enjoyed.
Sometimes things don’t work out like we plan. But darn it, I wanted to learn to two-step, and I did it (I was teaching girls how to dance by about four dances in). We can only let poor planning and things going differently than we planned affect us so much. In the end, only we can choose how to make the best of any situation, and sometimes it goes better than it ever could have if everything had gone right. I never even saw a single friend at that country bar, but it was easily the most fun night of my week.