What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting

What do you do when the ground beneath you shakes — literally? (And you thought this post was going to be about the little guy growing in my belly! Gotcha, didn’t I?)

We’ve had an influx of new readers lately (welcome!), so I’ll take a moment to give some backstory: I live in Nicaragua.

Why does that matter?

Well, because the ground beneath Nicaragua has been shaking up a storm over the past five days.

I was having coffee with a web design client on Thursday when the first earthquake hit. We got up as quickly as possible and stood inside the doorframe.

The very next day, I was having lunch with my old friend / brainstorming partner / fellow blogger Antonella Saravia when another strong earthquake shook the ground. Our pens dropped onto the table, and we ran for safety. Aftershocks still jiggled us to and fro as we paid our bill.

Ever since, I’ve been spending the night at my parents’ house, which is much safer. To make things even worse (or better, depends how you look at it), we ended up sleeping in the living room with the door to the backyard open for an easy exit. We brought out some mattresses and had some fun with it.

Who said building forts is only for kids?

But it’s no fun to be sleeping soundly one minute and be jerked awake by screams and a groaning house the next.

That’s been the pattern these past few days…

One minute everything’s fine. The next, I’m running.

The role of the unexpected

Have you ever noticed that most of the grand things in our lives seem to be unexpected?

A random email from someone you admire.

An opportunity to travel with your bestest friends.

A phone call asking if you’re still interested in that dream job.

Ever happened to you? It’s happened to me over and over again.

I was getting off the plane, headed to WDS 2013, when I received an email inviting me to speak in Madrid.

I was grabbing frozen yogurt with my brother when I received an email inviting me to bid on a project I’ve been waiting on for months.

I was journaling about my struggles with a recent project when I received a phone call from the very friend who could help me in a heartbeat.

That’s not to say all unexpected things are positive — but not all are negative either. Like the earthquakes I’m living here in Nicaragua. Some good, some bad — but all pretty grand.

But most of us don’t care too much about if unexpected events are good or bad. What we care about is the fact that they’re unexpected!

I’m afraid of an earthquake. I’m afraid of the fact that I don’t know when it’s going to happen. No matter when it hits, I’ll walk/run as carefully as possible to safety, and I’m confident I’ll be okay. What bothers me is not knowing if it’ll happen in a minute, an hour, a day, or a decade.

Why do we want to know?

Right now, I want to know so much.

  • When the next tremor is going to hit.
  • How big of a success Devise will be.
  • What JJ Jr. is going to look like.
  • When I’ll get my next speaking opportunity.
  • When I’ll travel again.

When, when, when.

We all want to know when, don’t we?

I’ve been re-reading The Power of Now, and it’s reminded me of an important concept:

What happens in the future doesn’t exist — until it does. All that matters is right now.

But is that something we actually live?

We go about our days worrying about what may happen or angry about what already happened. What if none of that existed? What if all of that melted away?

Religious or not, the Serenity Prayer is a beautiful reminder of this very concept:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Earthquakes or not, I’m sure I’m not the only one wanting to predict the future? I’d love to hear from you:

How do you deal with the unexpected, for better or for worse?
Is waiting for the unexpected to occur something that concerns you? How so?
Are there any unexpected events that have popped into your life recently?

Wishing you awesomeness,

— Marcella

PS. I have much more to say about the present moment. Sign up below to be notified of my next article on the topic in about a week: