October 21, 2015 was the best day of my entire life.
If you remember, it was a pleasant Wednesday morning. The clouds collectively went on strike, leaving nothing but sunshine and a slight breeze behind. The air was just cool enough to keep from sweating and warm enough to comfortably wear a t-shirt.
That particular Wednesday I had just finished breakfast at a quaint cafe with my friends Dan and Hunter when it all began. We took our tickets to the register to pay and the waitress responded, “Someone already paid for you guys, have a good day!”
Pleasantly surprised, we walked out the door marveling at what just happened.
Then it hit me. Great Scott! Today is Back to the Future Day.
Maybe Future Me has returned to my present and paid for our breakfast to alter the course of history for some grand reason. It felt plausible.
My suspicions were confirmed when I walked into my 11AM class to find the professor standing in front of an empty classroom. He had lost his voice, class was canceled for the day. Now I was confident of the situation at hand.
What future was he trying to create? Maybe I’m going to strike it rich today. Maybe I make a huge mistake that needs fixing. Maybe he’s trying to find me love.
Yes, love. Love! Future Me had returned to set me up with future Mrs. Nations.
I was very convinced.
Determined to follow through and help my(future)self out, I used the hour I would have been in class to stroll around campus. The plan was simple: If I run into a girl, brush shoulders with her, see her in distress, whatever, I was going to ask her to lunch.
I meandered the entire hour searching campus for this sweet love of mine.
As it neared lunchtime I had zero prospects and my stomach was growing impatient, so the roommates picked me up to hit Chick-Fil-A.
“Maybe she’s waiting for me at Chick-Fil-A.” I thought, “Everything good happens there.”
Alas, it didn’t seem she was. My enthusiasm was running thin.
Furthermore, that evening was the second round of intramural flag football playoffs. We lost by 1 point in the last second, just another blow to my hopes for the day.
Later that night, just before I began watching Back To The Future II at the house (could it hold some sort of clue?) it happened. I discovered a text from one of my best friends, Ty, who recently married a young gal named Sarah. They’re both students at UF.
My heart leapt. This. Was. It.
Without hesitation I canceled a commitment I had that weekend and planned a trip to Gainesville on Friday to meet my wife. My problems had all been solved.
Quickly we strategized how to make her fall in love.
Ty and Sarah would invite this girl to a barn dance happening that night in Gainesville, which we’d all attend together. A couple dates later and I pop the question because there’s really no need to waste time. Two-and-a-half kids, a golden retriever and white picket fence after that and we’re living happily ever after. Bada bing, bada boom.
I felt like a 16 year old boy driving towards his first date as I cruised down Interstate 10 towards Gainesville—confident as Kanye at an awards show—watching the grand plan come together.
She was awesome and pretty and funny, it was a genuinely exciting evening. We didn’t click quite like I had hoped, however. Definitely my fault, not hers.
Regardless, the trip didn’t feel like failure.
It felt like success.
Successfully following the intense gut feeling of the moment—regardless of its’ outcome—was a decision I haven’t regretted. In fact, it was a definite highlight of my year.
Sometimes you’ve got to go for something because it feels right, and that’s all you can explain. Resolute inspiration captivates you and there’s no stopping until it’s carried through. I think there’s reason to follow it.
If nothing else, it’ll add a dose of adventure to an otherwise ordinary Wednesday.
*To the pretty girl from Gainesville,
If you’re reading this I hope you take it well. The story felt worth sharing.