July 29th, 2011
A bit more than a week ago, Natalie and I were on our way to Glacier National Park. It was about 6 hours total out of our way, and cost us about $300 dollars worth of gas to get there. But we had heard it was an absolute Montana must-see, so we decided to go for it anyway. The drive was beautiful, and we stopped in a little town called Kalispell the night before. The next morning we took off for the hour and a half drive to get to the National Park and once we were there, we were told that we couldn’t come in. Our RV was too big. And they don’t allow dogs anywhere in the park.
Now, we could have been upset, or mad at ourselves for not checking this info ahead of time, but instead, we shrugged our shoulders and said “Fuck it then. Off to Missoula.” We giggled, turned around, and left.
Natalie and I both believe that everything happens for a reason, and that it would all make sense later, why our Glacier trip didn’t work out. And so after that, we had a running joke. Every time we’d see a pretty sunset, or laughed hysterically over some random occurrence we’d say “now THAT’S why Glacier didn’t work out,” because had it worked out, we wouldn’t have been at the exact place at the exact moment that said cool thing happened.
So we continued on our journey. Missoula. Then Butte, which about 7 hours after we got there, we decided it was just time to move on. It just felt like the right thing to do, for both of us. So we left and decided to meet up with a friend in Bozeman, MT, who we had been hooked up with by our friends in Hood River.
We roll into the cute little town of Bozeman around 9:30pm and took our time getting ready. We walked slowly to the bar to meet our new friend. And we decided that instead of texting him when we got there so he could come out and meet us (since we didn’t know what he looked like) that we would just be able to tell, in a bar full of people, who the person was that we were supposed to meet.
We walked into The Eagle with a keen eye. Intuition heightened. We passed several people before we came upon two guys, who were heading for the door.
“Hi.” We said. “Are you our friends?”
Somewhat confused looks from these two strangers.
“Ummm…yeah, I mean, we could be your friends? What are the names of who you’re looking for?”
“Well, what are your names?” we ask.
Turns out these two guys weren’t who we were looking for, but a short conversation ensued, in which we learned that one of the guys was currently in school at my Alma Mater, and both of them were fishermen who were (maybe) going to take us fishing the following day, pending room in the boat. They took our numbers, left, and we proceeded to find our friends.
The next day we get a text from one of the fishermen, and decide to meet him downtown where he was in a coffee shop writing. And what ensued was basically three entire days of fun, laughing, floating down the river, rodeo and county fairing, swimming in ponds, country dancing, and hanging out with amazing new friends. This fisherman was not originally who we were looking for, but exactly who we needed to meet. It dictated our time in Bozeman, and we now have a friend who I suspect will be in our lives for a very long time. And had we not left Butte at the exact moment we did, or not taken those few extra minutes to get ready, we would have missed meeting him all together. He would have already been out the door and on his way home. And THAT’S why Glacier didn’t work out.
This got me thinking to the moments in our lives that define us. Those moments that change everything. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those moments are usually proceeded by things that didn’t work out the way we originally wanted them to. If my last relationship hadn’t ended, I wouldn’t be here out in the RV right now. If we had gone into Glacier National Park, we never would have met our new friends. And life is full of moments like these, moments that send the pendulum swinging in completely new direction. I can trace this moment right here, me sitting on a park bench in Jackson, Wyoming, so far back. Probably 15 years at least. A string of things that didn’t work out that all led me right here to this moment, right now.
And I love right now. I couldn’t have planned it this way. I never would have seen myself driving a 34 foot RV all around the country with my friend and my dog, but it is the absolute right thing for me to be doing right now. Who would have known? You can’t plan for this stuff.
It’s easy to be upset when things don’t work out the way you want them to. Easy to lament the boy who doesn’t love you, or the job that didn’t come through, or the house that you didn’t get. But in those moments, just keep in mind that an RV might be being sold at the exact moment you want it, or fisherman might be right around the corner, waiting to show you a good time.
We can’t plan for life. No matter how much we think we can or how hard we try. It’s all just a series of moments and split second decisions that change everything. Don’t be upset when life doesn’t go the way you want it to. Just follow your intuition. Leave Butte if you have to. Don’t be scared. And see what’s waiting for you when you get to your next destination.
Has this ever happened to you? Leave me a comment and tell me about some of your life changing moments.