I had it all planned out.
My birthday happened to fall on a Thursday when I had no plans. None. I couldn’t believe my luck!
So I decided to actually spend a day doing everything I loved to: surf in the morning, breakfast with the guys I surf with, hike Makapuu with my dogs, maybe relax on the beach with a book, then hit the surf for an evening session and eat somewhere with great food. I wasn’t going to check e-mail or do any work of any kind. It was my birthday — and my last in the 30s — and I was going to spend it the way I had wanted, dammit.
But like most things in life, they don’t always turn out the way you expect — or want.
I did manage to catch a few waves in the early morning, but that’s about the only thing on my list that actually happened according to plan.
I should have known when I stepped on something sharp and hard on the way back to my car that this wasn’t going to be my favorite day.
The “Check Engine Soon” light flickered on while I was driving down to the beach. And when I was about to head home, it started making a clunking noise, one that my mechanic said could be bad, really bad, like, tow-the-car-to-my-shop bad. And the bottom of my foot, where the shard was lodged, was starting to ache.
I had to skip on breakfast at Rainbow Drive-In and spend the morning, instead, sitting outside my mechanic’s shop in Kakaako until my mom came to pick me up.
So we grabbed breakfast at Pancakes and Waffles Hawaii in Kalihi (photo at top), where we gorged on honey butter chicken, mini waffles, buttermilk pancakes and vinha d’alhos (Portuguese pickled pork). It wasn’t on my to-do list, but I wasn’t complaining, either.
I wasn’t sure when the car would be ready that day — or if it would even be ready that day — so I couldn’t do much of anything. I stayed home, watched Netflix, took a nap, walked the dogs and did nothing much remarkable.
I wasn’t in the mood to surf that night, and I didn’t feel like sitting in a bustling restaurant, ordering dishes I couldn’t pronounce. So I made comfort food bentos — Spam musubis, shoyu hot dogs, shoyu eggs — and headed to Waikiki to watch the sunset. Bubbies was my dessert. No singing “Happy Birthday” necessary.
My day didn’t turn out much like anything I had originally planned — and I learned a few things with that experience.
You can’t control everything. No matter how much you want to, you really can’t. So much in life isn’t determined by you and you have to learn to just go with it. It’s not the easiest thing, especially when your plans are derailed; it’s frustrating. But it’s important to realize the only thing you can control is how you deal with these situations, not the situations themselves.
Sometimes the surprises are better than your plans. I hadn’t planned on eating breakfast with my mom — and because my car broke down, I was able to. And that was one of the highlights of my birthday.
Doing nothing can be a good thing. I’m not one of those people who enjoy lounging around the house, doing nothing. I don’t sit in front of the TV for hours or even take naps. But sometimes it’s a good thing to recharge and unwind. It’s a lesson I haven’t quite learned yet, but I’m starting to.
There’s always tomorrow. Sure, Thursday was my birthday, but that’s just an arbitrary date. All the things I wanted to do — I can do today. Or tomorrow. And even over the weekend. I can’t worry about not accomplishing everything today, right now. I have to learn to let go and realize the surf will be there in the morning. It’s all good.
Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes via the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, e-mail, text message and every other way technology has allowed us to stay in touch. I appreciate all the love!