I have a little confession. I am not really big on planning things. Well, I do plan to some degree, but very loosely. I also use a planner, and it is very helpful to me, but I will explain how I use it in another post later this week. Today I want to talk about what happens when plans fall apart because life has taught me that no matter how hard or how well we can try to plan for something, things rarely ever work out the way we thought we wanted them to.
Apparently Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Alan Lakein or all of them, once said,
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
I do understand that that many people do believe that planning is important and it does serve a purpose when we want to organize or achieve something. It is good to know and outline the steps involved, and document what it is that we want to get from the experience. However, plans are only good as long as we are able to be flexible when there is a monkey wrench thrown into them, and unexpected things happen or go wrong. For many hardcore planners, this can be difficult and when their plans fall apart, so do they. When their plans are tampered with and their expectations are not met, the fear of failure can override all else, bringing the project to a complete halt or full-on crash. Meanwhile, this is where our true potential for growth can occur.
The truth is, that almost nothing goes exactly as planned. Life is full of all sorts of curve balls and unexpected surprises of which we have little or no control over whatsoever. No matter how well thought out or carefully planned, we are going to be knocked off course. This is the Universe’s way of challenging us. When plans fall apart, it doesn’t mean our dream or intention has to fall away with it, and if we focus on the failure of plans, we often become disillusioned. Instead, a shift in perspective is required to see that there is an opportunity being presented to us to use our imagination and creativity toward greater success. We have to learn how to be flexible, adapt and improvise.
The other thing that is important to remember is that no matter what we think we need or want, our understanding of these things is limited by our human experience. We think we know what’s best for us, but it is rarely the case. The sooner we can get over sulking about what we have lost, and move on to embracing what life has thrown our way, the closer we will be to living a more fulfilled existence. This is why it is important to be open to any change of plans, or even to potential outcomes.
I am absolutely certain it was the Rolling Stones, who in 1969 wrote:
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.”
When I fell in love with my husband Mick, many years ago, the last thing I ever imagined was spending the rest of my life with him. He didn’t fit into my plan and I am pretty certain I didn’t fit into his either. He wasn’t the guy I thought I was looking for. I mean, truly he was everything I ever wanted in a man, but he didn’t come in the package I expected. See, the problem was that he was many years younger than me and I had never ever even dated a man even a year younger than me. In my limited human life experience, women didn’t date let alone marry men that were much younger than them. Plus, my first husband was 7 years older than me and he was an immature train-wreck, so the last thing I was looking for was someone younger. Yet, I couldn’t imagine living a life without him either. He brought out the best in me. We brought out the best in each other, and despite our age difference, our family members were supportive because it was pretty obvious to anyone who knew us, that we were meant for one another.
I didn’t plan to fall in love with him. In fact, a relationship of that sort was so off my radar that I felt completely comfortable befriending him without concern I might be misleading him romantically in any way. Since our relationship was completely framed in the friend zone, we were able to be develop a really close and intimate friendship. It was quite a shock to both of us when we realized simultaneously that we were undeniably in love. For the longest time, we took one day at a time trying to figure out where life was taking us. However, no matter how hard either of us may have tried to resist, we knew we were meant to be together. We had no idea where the future was taking us. We knew there were going to be challenges ahead but we decided to roll with it. We were together 2 years before we decided to marry and we have been happily married for 16 years come June and we have a beautiful 14 year old son together.
When I accepted Mick as my true love and committed to sharing my life with him a path opened up before me whereby one unexpected miracle after another blessed our lives. I honestly never could have planned or imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would be living the life I am living now and I certainly would never had of made it here if I stuck to my plans.