“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost
Last week, something terrifying happened. After a software update, all of my calendar entries from February 6, 2019 forward disappeared from my calendar. I had synced my android before I realized the problem, so I couldn’t restore from there. After 45 minutes on the phone with Microsoft support, I heard the diagnosis, “I’m sorry, sir, but it appears the update caused the issue, and we can’t restore your calendar.”
After a few minutes of fuming, I knew I was too upset to think clearly. So, I watched a silly movie and went to bed. My brain kept working the problem and woke me up at 4:30am to get started on restoring the calendar. Combing through past emails, checking my GoToMeeting settings, and digging through the wastebasket for paper copies.
Later in the day, I had a call with my business partners, explained the issue, and asked them to forward any meeting invites they may have sent in the past month. We discovered that because of the glitch, I had accidentally set aside the same date to be in two different states. Fortunately, one event was cancelled, so I was in the clear.
Sitting back in my chair, I relaxed. Then I received a phone call from a friend. Nothing that was planned, nothing critical to resolve, just someone who wanted to chat. It was great hearing their voice, and it was probably the best part of my day.
The best part of my day. It was never on my calendar. Never on my list of things to do. It was an unexpected moment that changed my mood and brought a smile to my face.
We try to plan so much. We use paper calendars, electronic calendars, and phone apps with reminders. We follow the same routines and rituals. We draft and redraft schedules, send meeting invites and post itineraries. If we fill up every moment of the day, we must be working on very important problems, so we must be very important people.
Our plans are just that, plans. Like Frost, we’re beginning our day – our poem – with no certainty on how it will end. The next moment may be a special discovery. Or the next. Or the next. The most important part of our day will probably be something unplanned and unanticipated.
We still need to set goals and make plans to achieve those goals. At the same time, we need to make ourselves available for the unexpected. Leaving room in our schedules for that impromptu call, visit or chat. Being aware of the accidental opportunities that may appear. Accepting that we don’t always know the ending when we start the day.
Tomorrow is waiting to be discovered.