As dinnertime approached on our last night in Florida, Karin and I were ready to take it down a notch. We’d eaten well and been on the go for several days, so the idea of dining in the hotel seemed appealing. The restaurant looked nice enough.
When we arrived, no one was around to seat us for several minutes. No big deal, but not a great sign. Eventually, someone behind the bar called over, instructing us to “sit anywhere we like.”
We followed those instructions and waited for a menu. Though there was only one other diner and a few men seated at the bar, several more minutes passed before our server dropped off menus and disappeared quickly without taking a drink order. I recognized her as the server from earlier in the day — the one who was harried and confused by my order of a beer and a seltzer.
I felt a subtle energy wash through me. And there was a whisper in my mind.
I said nothing to Karin, and we continued our conversation. I did not feel like venturing out tonight; it was easier just to stay where we were. Eventually we would be served.
Before I could share this feeling with Karin, she asked me, “Do you just want to go?”
We placed our napkins on the table and quietly exited.
We headed out into the night, walking a few blocks, checking out the menus of the seaside restaurants. We found a place with a nice vibe and had a lovely meal with excellent service. While we were eating and enjoying our experience, Karin said, “I’m so pleased that we chose to leave.”
And I agreed with her.
The easier thing to do was to ignore our inkling and stay. I’m sure everything would have been okay. Yet I find that being on vacation makes you a bit more conscious of your choices and what feels best.
(Do I like this hotel? Where’s a good place to eat? What’s fun to do in town?)
And this just did not feel right.
More important, there was no drama. No complaining. No frustration. Just a clear preference for something better. That’s what we sought, and that’s what we found.
Life is about noticing and following your preferences. At the same time, you need to be cool in order to separate your preferences from your reactions. If there’s a charge in your body when you make a decision or take action, you are not acting from preference, you are acting from conditioning. And in my experience, taking action when you are not aligned does not lead to great outcomes.
Taking responsibility for your emotions and managing how you feel is the challenge of a lifetime. But the dividends of being able to discern the signal from the noise has the power to pay off for a lifetime.
Extends way beyond a nice dinner on the town.
Ft. Lauderdale, looking west from the ocean as the sun descends.