Carpe Diem

Sometimes in life, we’re put in a position where our plans are unexpectedly derailed, forcing us to veer off-course and decide what to do with our newfound situation. This was me when I found myself stranded on a layover in Frankfort, with no return flights to the U.S. until the next day. I was in a city I’d never been, wondering what I could do to pass the time.

One option was to hole up in my hotel room and watch the clock until I fell asleep an hour or two (or four) later, waking the next morning intent on getting to the airport on time and continuing my trip home. While this may have been an okay idea if the airline had put me up someplace fancier, like the Four Seasons with a Jacuzzi and unlimited room service, such was not the case. Not that my room was bad or anything, but it wasn’t spectacular either. It was simply a place to lay my head until I could get out the next day.

My other option was to make the most of my unexpected detour and actually go out and see this new and unfamiliar town, which is exactly what I decided to do. I asked the concierge and the waiter for some good places to go and soon found myself en route to a cool bar that they had recommended. I spent the next several hours enjoying conversation with some of the locals about what life is like in Germany, and had experienced a slice of life in Frankfort that I never would have enjoyed if I had chosen to stay in my room instead.

Life is about recognizing when these opportunities are present and seizing them, even when that means a change in what we had planned. It is about living in the moment, enjoying whatever is in front of you so you never look back on your life and say, “I wish I would have done this” or “I really should have done that.”

This begins by taking the detours life throws at you, looking around, and asking what you can do to get the most out of them. It involves keeping your eyes open to the opportunities they present, seizing them in a way that makes you feel as if you’re living your life to the fullest with each passing day.

They don’t have to be grand opportunities either. Maybe you were planning to drive one way to work and had to take another route because the road you usually travel on was closed. Instead of doing this with your mind fully consumed by how many more minutes it will add to your commute or complaining inside your head about how it will throw off your entire day, mindfully pay attention to your new route and consider what it has to offer you as this may just be an opportunity in disguise.

You might just find a for sale sign for that perfect little house you’ve been looking for, or maybe you’ll see a baby deer standing next to its mother in a nearby ravine, reminding you that life is precious and you’re thankful to have children of your own.

Take these opportunities life has to offer and seize them. Who knows where your road might lead you when you do?

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