I dropped my bag on the bed and stopped to look around. Red and blue carpet painted the floor beneath my flip-flops. White and cream-colored wallpaper provided a backdrop for the wooden table and two double beds arranged neatly in the cabin. The closets were secured tightly with magnetic stops to keep them from slapping unruly passengers in transit. I looked out the port-side window to see the Long Beach harbor go about its daily business. The birds on the pier would have never known (or I doubt would have cared) that 24 hours ago, I did not plan to be here.

The call came in about 6PM on Thursday evening. A friend of mine had a free ticket for a 3-day cruise to Mexico and he wanted to see if I would be interested in going. The cruise was set up several months prior to celebrate the engagement of my good friends. Julie and I had decided not to go in an effort to save a little money and to spare her the sea-sickness that always comes from the ocean. I had resolved myself to a weekend of training in its place, registering for a local century ride with plenty of climbing.

Being the “A” type person that I am, I rarely change plans or spontaneously switch my schedule. I guess I just love the illusion of being in control of my life, and the comfort my weekend routine provides. My training for the upcoming triathlon season has been severely suffering, and this was my weekend to get back on track….

…or not

“Alright Dude. Count me in!” I told my buddy after running things by my wife. The decision to go, while it may have come easy for some, was a huge step outside my comfort zone. I would be further behind in my training, and my weekend plans would have to be scrapped.

John Lennon once said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I may rework that quote to say “Life happens when you are flexible enough to change your plans”

The older I get, I am learning more and more about the true value in the relationships I have built over the years. It is through these relationships that the story of my life has evolved. The world is a more beautiful place when it is experienced with great friends. Somehow over the past year, I have become so focused on my physical training and routine that I have sacrificed some of the joy that comes in just laughing and hanging out with close friends.

I think God wanted me to focus on my relationships for a weekend. I came to the realization that in the end, it will make no difference how many triathlons I completed or how many miles I have ridden. What will matter are the relationships I have made, the stories I have shared with others, and the joy that comes in being flexible enough to change some plans.

At the beginning of this year, I set out determined to write more stories as I live out life. I can’t do that by being so controlling of my schedule that I forget to invest in the people that create those stories. I now have a weekend of stories that I will be reliving for many years to come… When’s the next adventure?