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Sometimes I don’t have a plan. I just let the day take me where it wants me to go. One recent Saturday, I woke up to a post on Facebook selling an aquarium. I jumped on it and ended up having a great father/son day.

I’ve been looking for a new aquarium for months to fit a space in my house. I’m trying to keep it in a budget while also look as nice as possible. The only problem with the one I had found was that it was located in Canton, OH – a two-hour drive. Knowing that my oldest would probably spend his entire afternoon on his PS5 otherwise, I asked him to come along.

He had no idea how long the drive was. Once he found out, he was not happy at all.I envisioned us having a good conversation on the way. He ended up sleeping for the first hour and a half.

But, as I was driving in silence, I started to think about how close we would be to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I checked our ETA – we’d arrive at 3:15pm. If I didn’t spend too much time talking, I could get in and out with the aquarium and be at the HOF and have an hour to walk around before it closed at 5pm.

Nick loves football and this would be a heck of a surprise.

Of course, the minute he woke up and saw signs for Canton, he asked how close we’d be. “Close” I said.

Busted. It was still a great surprise.

We ended up at the HOF by 4pm. It was empty and it was perfect. I’ve never seen him so engaged and interested in an experience. He learned about players he’s never heard of and pointed out all the ones he already loved. It was awesome and, according to him, worth the drive.

We talked about it the entire way home.

Why this matters

So often in life, we (I) get stuck in a routine. It may be a routine of activity or apathy. Either way, it can be harmful.

Any other weekend, I could have done work, household chores, or watched TV. He could have been on this phone or PS5. We sprinkle some other things in there but you know what I mean – it’s a rut.

Trips, even only two hours away, can seem like too much – planning, time, effort. etc. They get stuck in the “someday” bucket of things we’ll do. Often times, they never get done.

We spent about four hours in the car (torture for me in the abstract sense) for one hour of time in the Hall of Fame. It almost doesn’t seem worth it on its face. But it was.

In that time:

  • I spent two hours in silence thinking. (Better than it may sound)
  • Nick got a much needed nap.
  • We have a memory that we’ll never forget.
  • We spent two hours bonding on the way back.

I wouldn’t trade any of it. He’s still talking about that trip now.

The lesson for me was this: Sometimes I need to pick up and go someplace, no plan. Simply, think of something to do and do it. Most of all, I need to be happy with whatever happens. Enjoy the experience.

No plan. Just life happening for me. That’s a good thing.

Keep moving forward,
Nick