Today’s blog post is from Chance Scoggins, a singer, song-writer, music producer, and blogger. You can find him at ChanceScoggins.com or on twitter at @chancescoggins.
“Pack a bag and be ready in 30 minutes.”
“You heard me. Hurry up!”
I was home for my 21st birthday. Dad was up to something, but I’d learned by then not to ask questions. I went to my room, threw some clothes and my toothbrush in a bag and met him at the car 30 minutes later.
“Where are we going?”
We drove in silence for the most part. Every now and then I couldn’t help but laugh and say, “You’re crazy. You know that, right?” The surprise was a blast, but it was also driving me nuts. “So you’re not gonna tell me anything, are you?” Nothing. Eventually, based on the part of town we were in, I could tell we were headed to the airport. I tried to use this to pry out some details, but his lips were sealed.
The lesson had already begun. I just didn’t know it yet.
We parked, I followed him to the Delta counter and we waited our turn. When the attendant behind the counter called “Next!”, I walked up to her, unaware that Dad had stayed back. I was on my own.
Thinking he was right behind me, I stood there waiting for him to answer.
“Des-ti-na-tion?”, she said, a little agitated.
“Umm, I’m sorry. My Dad, um, where’d he go? I looked back and saw him bent down tying his shoes. “I’m sorry…I don’t know.”
“You don’t know where you’re going?”, she asked.
“No, I’m sorry. Could you…?”
“If you don’t know where you’re going, I can’t help you.”
“Can you look it up by name?”
Frustrated and huffy, she said, “Name?” I told her my name and waited for what was probably just a few seconds, but it felt like an hour. Finally, she looked up and said,
“Looks like you’re off to Las Vegas. Does that sound right?”
“Um, Yep…” That was awesome and I would have celebrated, but she was obviously frustrated with me.
“How are you going to pay?” (When I turned 21, you didn’t have to prepay online… There was no such thing as “online”.)
I looked back at my Dad who was still ‘tying his shoes’. “I’m sorry. My Dad has to pay. Dad?”
He was already up and on his way to the counter to rescue me. He handed her our itineraries and his credit card, to which she replied, “Well, look at how much easier that is.”
Soon, we had our tickets and were through security. Waiting to board, I asked him, “What was all that about?”
He laughed at me and said, “That was priceless! The look on your face was perfect, just like I planned it.”
I’m sure I looked puzzled. “I don’t get it.”
“Consider it my first gift to you.” He turned in to me and took a more serious tone. ”Chance, you’re an adult now. The world’s about to change for you, and you gotta be ready… When you’re a kid, you go wherever somebody else tells you to go. You don’t have much of a choice. But as an adult, not only do you get to choose, you have to choose… If you don’t, life or someone else will choose for you, and you probably won’t like what they come up with. You gotta know your destination and have a plan for getting there.”
I took it all in as he continued. ”It’s a lot like planning a trip. What’s your destination? How are you gonna get there; who’s going with you? You gotta know what it’s gonna cost and ask yourself if you’re willing to pay that price… You won’t always be, and you’ll choose a new destination. Once you decide, you gotta get packed and ready. Do you have everything you’ll need once you get there? Are you equipped? If not, what are you gonna do about it?”
We kept talking throughout the flight. He shared some times in his life when he’d planned well, and sometimes he didn’t. He told me where he thought I might be headed and we talked through the questions he’d laid out for me. By the time we landed, I’d learned a lesson that has guided me ever since. It’s up to me. No one’s going to hand me the life I’m here to live. If I want it, I need a plan. Of course, having lived a lot of life since then, I’m well aware that even when we have a plan, things don’t always work out as we’d thought. But I’m also convinced that course correction is much easier than flying aimlessly, no particular destination in mind, hoping we land somewhere nice.
It was one of my most memorable birthdays ever – a great trip, just Dad and me. And I learned more than one lesson that weekend – like, stand with just 16 when the dealer has a 3 showing. Always cover green on the Roulette wheel because the one time you don’t, it will hit. And maybe most importantly… what stays in Vegas is your money! Don’t expect to leave a casino with more than you came in with.
I’ll carry that moment standing in front of the airline attendant with me for the rest of my life. And I find the questions Dad asked me more and more important with the passing of time.
Where are you going? What’s your destination?
When and how do you plan to get there?
Who’s going with you?
What will it cost you to try?
Are you willing to pay that price?
Are you equipped for the journey ahead?
If not, what are you gonna do about that?
Re-published with permission. Originally published at http://www.chancescoggins.com/pack-a-bag-and-be-ready-in-30-minutes.