Today I did something I’ve never done before.
Something elusive. Something that most people don’t dare try until they’ve reached the age where wisdom and mindlessness meet.
An activity hidden in plain sight—accessible to thousands of people on a daily basis all over the world—yet entirely ignored in favor of Beats by Dre headphones, Candy Crush, and been-wanting-to-read novels.
Today, I read an airline magazine.
Like—I read it. Thoroughly. As I sit on the second leg of our visit to Alaska, where we’ll be looking for housing in preparation for moving to Ketchikan this summer, I got a wild hair and read the editor’s forward of American Airline’s The American Way. As I flipped the pages, I learned about Los Angeles locals and New Mexico art installations and twin brothers who create hairy furniture with bangs (it’s a thing). I skimmed six full-page ads for the best plastic surgeons in the world and dove deep into “the search for Mexico’s endangered recipes.” Dear God, thank you for not letting the guacamole I had in Cabo be on that list.
There’s something about reading such an eclectic collection of human interest stories bound on glossy paper that drove my attention so much more than the Next Page arrow on my computer screen. Maybe all this ginger ale is going to my head, but somehow, an airline magazine just represented a greater need to live unexpectedly.
I always talk about doing something new. Starting a fresh chapter. Revitalizing your life. But so much of my perspective on living an unexpected and “new” life revolves around structure.
Yes, structure is a good thing. You need it to maintain self-motivation, discipline, and to fill your life with intention.
However, how many of our best memories and most fulfilling experiences derive from a seat-of-your-pants decision?
I planned to read my two mindless girly novels on the plane today. I planned on listening to a few motivational podcasts I downloaded, and eating Biscoff cookies while familiarizing myself with Kacey Musgrave’s latest album.
Instead, I randomly found myself pulling The American Way out of the seatback in front of me, and thoroughly enjoying 45 minutes of being exposed to people and places I’d otherwise never know exist.
Was this one of the best memories or most fulfilling experiences of my life? No! But it was such an unexpected, enlightening pastime. I still don’t know what sorcery directed my hands to pick up the magazine, but after reading, I instantaneously felt more connected to the world. I wanted to visit more places and learn the stories of the awesome people I pass on the street every day with visions and talents and dreams pulsing quietly through their veins. It gave me ideas for blog posts, motivation to live out my own human interest story, and the simple relaxation I so desperately need at the moment.
Something so random reminded me that my days filled with goal-setting and timelines are well-punctuated with unexpected moments. Letting ourselves follow random leads into worlds unknown, magazines unread, conversations unspoken, recipes unordered…all of it is the universe lending us a hand in the direction we should be going.
Maybe that’s putting too much weight on things, but I can’t be the only one who is a creature of habit in my pursuit of the new. A strange juxtaposition…because can “new” really be habit? Whew, folks, we’re getting deep here.
Without a doubt, structure and positive habits lay the foundation to reach whatever “new” you’re striving for— whatever that goal may be in becoming something you’re currently not. A better wife. A successful business owner. A person who lives by faith. A sword-swallowing magician.
But giving way to the unexpected allows that wiggle room we all need to keep things fresh. To alter your perspective and make way for thought-provoking ideas that just might be the secret ingredient to your mission.
Heck, you might even luck out and find a great new recipe for toquitos along the way. (I did!)