The other day I was wandering the aisles of Costco somewhat aimlessly when all of a sudden I was stopped in my tracks. I looked before me and saw something I’d seen a dozen times, but never quite in the same way. Instead of just seeing the moment simply for what it was, I saw it in the context of my entire life–past, present and future. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.
This is what I saw:
You have to understand, we are not cat people. I was born and raised to loathe cats. I am genetically programmed to loathe cats. Cats make my skin crawl. They induce me to itch and sneeze and cough in their presence. In fact, not even their presence is required. My eyes will swell and itch and water excessively if I even walk into a room where a cat has been.
I cannot abide cats.
And yet there I was in Costco buying cat food.
Bulk cat food.
It’s a long and somewhat amusing story, yet I am now the proud owner of not one, but two cats. We’ve had them for about four years. They are outside cats; but they do come indoors occasionally. One sneaks in. The other asks for permission and leaves when he ask him. And not only do I provide food for them, I have even dished out my hard-earned cash to the tune of nearly $300 in vet bills in order to care for them properly. I talk to them. I call them by name. I scratch them under their respective chins and along their respective bellies. And sometimes, if I have to wash that shirt anyway, I have been known to pick up my favorite and snuggle him to my chest. Just not too close to the face.
I love my cats.
So what stopped me in my tracks that day at Costco? Simply the realization that never in a million years would I have seen myself walking down the aisles of Costco with a bag of cat food in my cart. If you would have told me 30, 20 or even 5 years ago I would one day spend even one penny on cat food, I would have bet you a million dollars (or maybe even ten) that such a thing would NEVER happen.
In that tiny moment I left Costco and travelled back to my past, back to a much younger me who was looking at the older me standing there in Costco with cat food in her cart. Younger me was shocked. I jumped back to present me and thought about how as little girls, young women, young adults, and even as grown women, we have so many ideas about what our future will–or in this case would never–bring. And oh how drastically–or not–the realities of our lives can differ from our imagined course. In many ways, of course. But sometimes in such a way we come to embrace something we once loathed.
What about you? Has your life turned out exactly–or even remotely–as you planned? If yes, how so? If not, what has been the greatest surprise? Are the differences for better or for worse? Most importantly, how have you made the best of what life has thrown your way?