A few months ago I received an invitation to a nonprofit’s gala. One perk of working for a Foundation is that you get to be invited to things that you’re too poor to be invited to in any other circumstance.
I’ve known about this nonprofit’s galas for years and have always wanted to go. They always get a big name act (ok, not THAT big. More like have beens or c-list celebrities, but still! It always sounds really cool.) and I’ve always wanted to go, but could not afford a table.
Then this year my chance came! Because of a recent grant we awarded to the organization, we received 4 complimentary tickets to the event. I should be really excited, right?
Wrong. I don’t know what it was, but I was kind of not that excited. I had plans with friends that night that I would have to reschedule, and it just seemed like a lot of work to get all dressed up at the last minute. This is probably more of an indicator that I’m a huge planner and when something pops up unexpected I’m not always the most mobile with it. But, that’s a topic for another day.
I graciously offered up my ticket to other people in the organization, but with the lateness of the invite, many people already had plans, and it looked like I would be attending. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was by no means dreading going, I was just, you know, ok if it just so happened I didn’t get one of our four tickets. It would be no skin off my back.
And then the night before the gala, my car was broken into. Everything worked out- my stuff was returned and my insurance covered the window repairs, but it did complicate things. All of a sudden, I was carless and credit card-less and coordinating getting myself to and from work and the gala turned complicated. I was trying really hard to have a positive attitude about the event that night, but I was just really tired. The weekend ahead included travelling for a wedding, so there would be little to no time to rest or deal with the car fiasco. A night at home with no details, stress or worry sounded amazing.
That morning, my boss asked me if I was excited about the gala that night. I hesitated. Do I proclaim I am to stay positive and by saying it convince myself to feel that way? Instead, I decided to go with honesty. I shared everything I’ve divulged in this blog- it will be a great event and I’m grateful for the opportunity, but with all that was going on in my life, I’d be just fine having a night home instead of having to go out. Gary then mentioned that his wife had cancelled her previous commitment and was actually free to take my ticket if I was interested.
I was interested.
The night was glorious. I left work early to pick up Aaron (since we were sharing a car) and we headed to the gym. After a good workout, I went outside and laid on the grass with a good book until Aaron was done with his workout.
As I laid there in the grass, sweaty and soaking up the sunshine, I couldn’t help but ponder how timing can change so many things. This event that I’d been wanting to go to for years, lost its gleam amidst the stress, busyness and inconvenience the hours surrounding it had inhabited.
The older I get, the more I’m seeing that. The week before, I went to NYC. A city I always thought I’d love to live in. Many visits confirmed this. But this last time, I discovered that desire was gone, and I seemed to have grown out of it. Living in the big hustle and bustle city no longer seemed exciting, but rather exhausting and time-consuming.
And then I realized the old adage is true. You do get old and boring. Worse yet, I’m getting old and boring.
But surprisingly, I was ok with it. I’m realizing that the exciting path doesn’t always mean it’s the better path. Sometimes, the moment and circumstances you’re in make the less exciting path much more enjoyable.
Like that day on the grass. In that moment I could think of no better place to be then laying on the grass with nothing I needed to do, nowhere I needed to be, and no way I needed to look and behave. That day, grass was way better than a gala.
Perhaps getting older doesn’t mean getting boring, but it means having the freedom and wisdom to choose the appropriate path for the moment. That night the correct path was a night on the grass. And maybe, just maybe, next spring the right path will be that gala.
P.S.- And getting older doesn’t mean you have an excuse to always choose the boring path. You still need to adventure. But again, a topic for another day.