Yesterday was my birthday, so being a good Manic Impressive I did the only reasonable thing. I ditched work and drove to the beach. My particular piece of heaven is San Gregorio State Beach, just 39 miles from my front door. It’s where I go whenever I need to relax, recharge, and get inspired. Or get a gift of a Chance Encounter.
Before I could even get out of the parking lot, a man called out to me and struck up a conversation. He was out from Connecticut visiting his daughter at Stanford, and decided to check out the beach as a little adventure on his birthday.
I pulled out my driver’s license, shoved it at him and said, “you mean our birthday?” My instant new best friend Terry and I spent the next hour enjoying each other’s company. I gave him a tour of my favorite spots while we reveled in the beauty of the beach and our serendipitous meeting.
A Chance Encounter
What are the odds? Two men from opposite sides of the country who share a birthday, meet by chance on that very day. I could not get past the amazing coincidence. Neither of us were planning on being in that spot at that time. I only decided to go 90 minutes earlier. He was just wandering down Highway 1 on a whim.
Has this ever happened to you? It seems to happen to me a lot. Ed, the best man at my wedding, came from a chance encounter at Boy Scout Camp. I met my friends Joni & Steve in a pickup volleyball game on a beach in Cancun. My friend Roy was stranded on the side of the road when I picked him up hitchhiking.
These folks have been my friends for 44, 30, and 27 years, respectively. Even my wife, a lifelong friend for 28 years, was a chance encounter. Back when I had hair, she was sitting in my chair when I went in for my appointment at the salon. I said, “Hey lady, you’re sitting in my chair”. She snapped back, “It ain’t your chair yet, buddy.” We got married three years later.
Chance Encounters happen to other folks I know too. My other buddy Ed was headed home from the East Coast when his flight was rerouted by a snowstorm. He struck up a conversation with Dave, the guy sitting next to him on the new flight, and they’ve been lifelong friends ever since. Just from a chance encounter on a plane Ed wasn’t supposed to be on.
Yes, I know I just ended a sentence with a preposition, but these Chance Encounters keep blowing my mind, making me forget the basic rules of grammar.
Reflecting On The Universe Of Opportunity
Which brings me to the point of all this. When my new friend Terry left the beach, I strolled the sand collecting my thoughts, shiny rocks, and sand dollars decorated with barnacles. Each item was placed in my path by the waves and the rising tide.
But had I been walking the beach an hour earlier or later, they would not have been there for me.
Pockets full of treasure, I headed back to the car with my haul, full of positive energy. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday. Enjoying natural beauty and reflecting on how great things, like lifelong friends, can wander into our paths by “accident.”
But don’t kid yourself. These Chance Encounters aren’t accidents. They’re gifts. Gifts from the universe. Luckily we Manic Impressives get them often because we’re open to the treasures that life places in our paths. Terry and I connected because the wildly extroverted Manic in me values this kind of human contact. This gift.
So keep your eyes and heart open to opportunity wherever you are. Your next client, best friend, or wife could be placed into your path by “chance”. Please, don’t trip on them, kick them in the ribs, or worse, ignore them. Gently pick them up, brush the sand off them and take them home with you.
And if you’re ever needing some real estate appraised in Connecticut, shoot my new best friend Terry Dinean an email. I sense he’s good at his work and you’ll like him as much as I do.