“The Real Time Is Right Now”

AirplaneThis is my 199th post! I’m closing in on 200! Woot!

I’m a bit high strung. Those who know me realize that’s a tremendous understatement, especially when things don’t go according to my plans. So when a return flight I was scheduled to be on recently was canceled due to mechanical issues, thus forcing me to remain where I was an extra day, I freaked out at first. Before I get into that more, let me backtrack and announce the winners of the chocolate mint tea giveaway. Confused by that segue? Read this post.

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Are we on the same page now? Good, because the winners, I’m delighted to say, are

Brick House Chick and Jill Weatherholt

Congrats, ladies! Jill, I have your address, but Maria, please email me at lmarie7b(at)gmail(dot)com with yours. Thanks to all who participated.

Getting back to high-strung me, as soon as the announcement was made that the flight was canceled, I immediately said, “Get me on a plane right now! I have plans!” to the airline employee. (And no, I won’t name the airline.) Mine was not the lone voice. Others shrieked their displeasure. But the answer to all of us was no. The best the airline could do was offer us each a motel room for the night and a rebooked flight the next day.

When I arrived home and called my parents to tell them what had happened, my practical dad put everything into perspective: “Do you realize how incredibly blessed you are? Don’t just see this experience through tunnel vision.”

Yes, my father often speaks in aphorisms. He was right about my tunnel vision. I tend to look at what’s wrong or what I don’t have, and then look toward a time in the future when what’s wrong is mended or I can have what I think I need. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a post about this before.

Dad then segued into how blessed I am to be a writer. “Stop looking at what you don’t have, and instead focus on reality. The real time is right now. You need to slow down and think about all the blessings you have, [blessings] like you’re free to write what you want.”

“What?” I countered. “I’ve had books go out of print! I’m broker than I’ve ever been in my life.”

“Maybe those books served their purpose for a certain time. Be present in the now. You might already have what you think you need.”

As I hung up the phone, I grudgingly admitted that he was right. I have the opportunity to write the kind of stories I’ve always wanted to write, even if right now I’m not getting paid for them.

I can’t help seeing my frustration about the delayed flight and my frustration over delays in life as synonymous, since they both point to expectations I had that weren’t met. They also point to my impatience. But as my father pointed out, I can look at both another way. I took his advice to start focusing on reality by first thinking about what was great about the experience of being delayed in another city.

XT1052After awhile, I began to see the adventure instead of the misfortune. While staying in the motel, I made progress on my novel revision. Best of all, I talked with many of my fellow disgruntled passengers—people I never would have talked to had I not been forced out of my comfort zone by this change in plans. I helped a woman look for an iPhone charger at a nearby K-Mart. I talked to two guys for hours, one of whom proceeded to drink a fifth of vodka and a Colt 45 while dispensing sage wisdom about life in Chicago. And then he invited me to join him in the Jacuzzi in his suite. I turned him down politely.

On the following day, while waiting for the airport shuttle to pick us up, I chatted up my fellow passengers over breakfast. And the guy who extended the Jacuzzi invitation came up to me and said, “Woo, I was really drunk last night.” Instead of immediately thinking that I had just been obliquely insulted, I decided to chalk it up to the blessing of having real connections with others and the wisdom of knowing when to just say no.

What’s happening “right now” for you? Are you looking at the now or the later?

now-and-later-24-pack-lemon-berry-close

Airplane from thinktalkblog.com. Now and laters from itsalldirect2u.com.

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31 thoughts on ““The Real Time Is Right Now”

  1. Your dad is so wise Linda! I’m a bit highly strung too and I’m also impatient. So a situation like that could make me lose it a bit. I’m glad you were able to make the best of it. Life is about more than just getting things exactly the way we want them. I’m glad your dad was able to put things in perspective for you. 🙂

  2. Y’know, you really are blessed. I spent a whole day, delayed at Newark airport. I didn’t even get offered a wipe down with a hot towel, let alone a jacuzzi.
    It’s hard when you’re a dreamer (as all writers are) to stay in the now. I find that gratitude for everything is a great anchor. When stuck in a traffic jam and desperate to get somewhere, I always remind myself that I’m not in the pile up that causing the delay. Or also, that the jam will put me in the right place and right time. I’m not where I want to be, but where I need to be.
    Does this translate into my writing? Mmmm. I’ve got my plan. I know where I want it to go, but sometimes getting stuck and frustrated is just the right thing to help me see a problem with my road map. So I appreciate the frustration. It’s training. And boy, does this wild dog need some training!

    • Man, what a horrible experience! I hope you had enough reading material. I was delayed for many hours at the Las Vegas airport almost a year ago. I didn’t have enough money to gamble.

      Yes, we are the dreamers. I often daydream. Perhaps I need to do more of that, especially when I’m stuck on a scene.

  3. Your dad gives great advice and it sounds like you got some good stories out of it. Not every story has to be written down and published. Some can just be entertaining tales you tell people from time to time. Good luck getting to the 200th. Beware the reblog. I missed my 300th because of that.

    • I’ll take your advice, Charles. 🙂
      My father likes to give advice. Yes, some experiences are just stories we tell, rather than stories we write.

  4. Wow! I’ve been looking for this tea ever since you mentioned it! I love chocolate and I love tea…the two together sounds heavenly. Thank you so much!
    Aren’t we blessed to have such wonderful dad’s, Linda? My dad always has a way of putting things into perspective…he’s my rock.
    I’m sorry about the delay in getting home, but I’m happy to hear you made some progress on your novel and met some interesting characters. 🙂
    I always feel sorry for the airline employees having to deal with the irate passengers when flights are canceled. Several years ago, I was trying to fly back from Florida and my flight was canceled two days in a row…people were going ballistic. I kept thinking the employees don’t get paid enough to deal with that kind of verbal abuse…it’s not their fault after all.
    Have a great week and thanks again for the tea! I’ll look forward to your 200th post…wow!

  5. What a story! I have to get the drunk guy into one of my Lego tales on Instagram. Oh, but I have to get the Lego jacuzzi first.

    Joking aside, you offer an important message. Before reading it, I spent half the day fretting over a manuscript no one seems to be interested in, and ignoring the one that has interest and an upcoming revision deadline.

  6. OH MY GOSH! First of all, GO ME!!!! CHOCOLATE MINT TEA has been on my mind since you showed us that it existed. I even told my daughter all about it! I love winning!!! Second, go Jill!!!! I only wish the three of us could actually get together to sip on this decadent treat!! 🙂

    Your dad is such a wise man! We can all use that advice. I keep hearing about mindfulness and being in the moment. Glad you made the best of the situation and that’s hilarious about Jacuzzi man! 🙂

  7. As others have noted, your dad give sage advice. It’s a hard thing to get–this living in the now–but so very simple. And great stories. Sometimes those bumps in the road provide just what we need.

  8. Can’t wait to read 200, if this is 199. 🙂 Glad you made it home safe. You’re right about experiences. I’m in the midst of writing right now, and it amazes me that the way I see moments is exactly what they become. I can write the story of most of them, but I still fall into the trap of letting most of them stomp all over me.

    We’ll get there, Linda. Eventually. It will never happen fast enough for me, but I’m the most impatient person I know. I have ambition, and I want more, and it’s hard for people like that to slow down and enjoy the journey. I try to tell myself that every day now, and it helps.

    • I hear you, Andra. I’m trying to work on being fully present in the moment. But I’m very impatient. I wish writing was not a slow process and was as quick as instant oatmeal. But it’s like working on handcrafts like knitting or crocheting. Everything has to be laid out one stitch–one word–at a time.

  9. Andra said it best, Linda. It’s good to be ambitious but it can also make you anxious when you needn’t be. So glad you have a wise and sage father to dole out good advice. 🙂

    You also made fired up a craving for Now and Laters…

    • I know!!! I wish I could have some Now and Laters right now. I used to eat those by the ton when I was a kid!!!

      Just think, Phillip: you can be that sage father for your child!!!

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