As a retiree I try to do a few community activities. Most of the time I make an effort to avoid, at all costs, driving downtown during the day, a commute I made for over twenty years. And since I now do whatever work I do from home, and also have activities such as water exercise classes or swimming several days out of the week, I enjoy the freedom from wearing make up, doing something with my hair, and putting on professional-appearing, even business casual, clothes on most days.
Ah, the joys of sitting at your computer wearing sweat pants or shorts, or even pj’s. Nothing else can make you appreciate more having given up work, or at least the structure of a formal work environment, except perhaps no longer setting an alarm clock in the morning. Though I've had to do that for various appointments lately more than I like to admit.
But on some days I make the effort to attend in person a meeting for one of the professional or community groups to which I still belong. Today was one such day. After leisurely reading the newspapers over coffee and attending to a few household chores I realized I was dangerously close to missing a lunch meeting downtown to which I had committed months ago. A quick shower, brief application of make up and a change into business casual clothes left me sweaty, anxious, and running late. And thankful that this was a very occasional occurrence.
I made it to my destination in time, found an on-street parking spot (most amazing), successfully navigated both parallel parking on the left-hand-side of the street and the new “Smart” parking meters, and proceeded to the meeting with about a minute to spare. Only to find the meeting had been cancelled about an hour before my arrival. I calculate this was while I was in the shower—or dashing for the car. The two were so close in time I can’t really be sure.
Needless to say, I should have checked my email before leaving home. Though that might not have saved me from the trip downtown as my email had been running slowly this morning.
The person who had cancelled the meeting was very apologetic for not having gotten the word out sooner. And, of course, most of the attendees who are already downtown would have gotten the email in plenty of time to avoid a pointless trip. But then, as luck or maybe fate would have it, I ran into an old friend, while receiving the news of the cancelled meeting. He graciously insisted on taking me to lunch. We had a delightful chance to catch up on family, friends, professional activities and otherwise make my little journey into downtown well worth the time I had invested in the excursion.
Now I’m home and catching up on other activities I've put off. But I’m left wondering if the best experiences often are the ones we don’t plan. The ones that life just throws at us through serendipity. That’s certainly what happened to me today.