Sunday Stories: The Gift of Cancelled Plans


"I have to cancel today; I don't feel good," my friend texted. I had just sat back in my car from my pilates class, sweat still dripping down my back, when I received her message. We'd planned to do a sunset hike or get a smoothie and walk along the beach the night before.


I bought groceries, returned home, and finished cleaning. My new definition of happiness includes fresh sheets, a perfectly stocked fridge, and a clean home. Ah, the joys of adulthood. I wrote for an hour and a half, then took a nap when that afternoon slump hit. Unwilling to throw the day away, I set my alarm for 4 p.m.


When my phone went off, I hesitated and debated with myself for a bit. Well, it's late. Dana Point is an hour and twenty minutes away. I can edit my blog post instead. Then, I remembered who I am — someone who follows through and honors her commitments, especially the ones I make with myself. I'd already pictured me and my friend enjoying the outdoors, so carpe diem! I flung the duvet off, forced myself out of bed, then sent another friend a quick text: "Meet me in Dana Point to watch the sunset. Let's be spontaneous!" I laughed; it was a nod to her spontaneous nature, the opposite of the planner that I am. Twenty minutes later, I was out the door.


As soon as I started driving, my cup filled up more and more. I passed Disneyland — a place that holds countless wonderful memories. I picked up a latte and a slice of banana bread before heading to a bluff in front of the marina. It was gloomy; the temperature was perfect for a lovely evening stroll. I walked along the path, pausing every few minutes to admire the view. It was still too early for sunset, and the trail was relatively short, so I drove to the beach.


Dana Point is truly beautiful, I thought. Each visit feels like a vacation — a new contender for our future home. I smiled, a bit surprised about how the thought of purchasing a house outside Malibu made me feel. Home isn't a physical location but wherever you feel the most authentic, so as long as I feel like myself, I am home, wherever I am in the world.


I parked my car while others returned to theirs — wet, barefoot, and happy. I walked past friends, lovers, and families; dogs with their owners; and individuals enjoying a moment in solitude. I find the walk towards the beach particularly exciting, especially when it's hidden from plain sight. Walking down the staircase feels like opening a present; each step brings you closer to finding out what's on the other side.


The view was just as glorious as I thought it would be. I looked at my feet and chuckled at the memory of a friend teasing me for wearing shoes at the beach. I thought of my family, my friends, and my dreams. I was grateful to soak it all up by myself. Life is good.


When I got home, I realized how late it was. I regretted not finishing my blog post earlier that day. I'll do it tomorrow. So what if it's not up at its usual time? Then, I remembered who I am again. The thought of not following through didn't sit well with me, so I grabbed my computer and started typing.