Making the unlikely likely
I'm not sure what it is about this year, but if there's a recurring theme, it is that the unlikely has become likely. To be sure, none of these things are necessarily unusual. I suppose I just didn't foresee them happening even if I made explicit plans at some point in the process.
For instance, until this year I hadn't been to New York City and didn't exactly see it as somewhere I'd be going anytime soon. Driving there, not to mention the cost, intimidated me. Having a brother who was conveniently (and temporarily) located in that area for a spell made it feasible. I had a great time, figured out how to "do" NYC, and went back a second time this year.
For awhile I'd also wanted to go to the Toronto International Film Festival but thought the price was probably too steep. When the circumstances around a closer fest led me to cut back on how much of it I attended, I started thinking about how to divert some of what I would have spent toward going to the big international event. Looking ahead allowed me to determine if it was doable and find someone to split the costs. And so I went to TIFF and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Today I thought about the possibility of going to a World Series game in Texas. My Dallas-Fort Worth-dwelling brother and sister-in-law went to one last year. At least before tonight's game the Rangers were looking like good bets to advance to this fall's World Series, so I shot my brother an e-mail to see if he might have access to tickets. If the Rangers host games, two of the three are during the weekend, so I could make a quick trip down there, see a game, and be back at work with missing little or no time. Some reasonably priced flights are out there. So, if the Rangers make it to the World Series, there's a good chance I may go to a game. (I might even drive, if that's what it takes.)
As a lifelong baseball fan, the idea of going to a World Series game is pretty exciting even if I'd have no vested interest in who's playing. (I will certainly be a good citizen and root for the home team if I end up there.) I would have thought attending one of these was unlikely, yet there I was today working out a plan that should click.
The lesson in all this, if there is one other than "plan", is that I am in charge of making the unlikely likely, at least to a certain degree. (Obviously there are things that are out of everyone's control.) I'll be the first to admit that it is easier for me to sit back, let things happen as they do, and wait for something to occur, even if the results (or lack of them) aren't always what I might prefer. In the things I've listed above there was no real risk in deciding to put plans in motion to achieve them, yet it took a smidgen of initiative to make them possible. The challenge, I suppose, is applying that in other scenarios.