This Wasn't the Plan


“What’s the plan?” My sons and niece will tell you that was always my go to question. They can also tell you how much they dreaded hearing it over and over again. My motto in life has always been “you have to have a plan.”

“I don’t want to go back to that college!” Ok, so what’s the plan?

“I hate that job, I’m gonna quit!” Ok, so what’s the plan?

(I didn’t actually say it that calmly but you get the point.)

I have always been one of those annoying people who has to have a plan for every situation. I plan hour by hour; day by day; month by month. And yes, even year by year. That’s why my Microsoft “Outlook” schedule on my office computer is my best friend.

But then life happens and all the plans are thrown out the window. For us planners (some might call me a control freak) that is a difficult place to be but we must find a way to adjust and move on.

Anyone who has been in my presence for more than a couple of hours has heard my phone alarm go off at least once or twice. (Yes, I’m aware of how annoying that can be.) I’m even early for all my “appointments” just in case…you know traffic…a swarm of bees. (Don’t laugh, that actually happened). If I’m not 10 minutes early then I’m late.

And God help those who throw off my schedule.

“What do you MEAN the doctor is running an hour late? I specifically allotted him an extra half hour. Doesn’t he KNOW I have a schedule to keep?”

Even my “free days” are planned out: 8AM – post office; 8:30AM – CVS; 9AM – oil change; 9:30AM – car wash; 10AM- relax till noon; Noon – lunch with the girls…You get the drift.

Yes, people, I know how anal I sound but having a plan keeps me peaceful and calm. With a plan I have a sense of security. Without a plan I feel like my life is spiraling out of control. And the moment the plan comes together I am off onto a new plan. I’m not looking for or expecting any surprises.

But then something happens and a monkey wrench is thrown into the perfect plan.

Maybe that relationship didn’t work out. Maybe your career and finances are not what you thought they would be at this stage in your life. Maybe you lost that dream job. Maybe you can’t retire when you thought you could. Maybe the “empty nest” is not so empty anymore. Maybe you don’t have the spouse, two kids and white picket fence you thought you’d have by now. Plans can change and we need to be prepared.

My husband was supposed to retire in a couple of years. We were going to move to Florida. He was going to start a consulting business and I would write full time. Good plan, right? But then suddenly he got ill and before I knew it he was gone. I was alone and back at square one. There was no plan B; not even a plan C. THE plan was the one and only and now it was smashed into pieces. What do I do now?

After coming out of the fog I had to figure things out. My reflex was to come up with another plan. But life had quickly taught me that a plan may be a good starting point but you need to be ready. Ready for what life throws at you. You can have a plan A, B and even C. But know that we are not in control of our lives. Some may say it is in the hands of others. Some may say God, the Universe or Fate. But whatever your beliefs be ready for change. Keep yourself open to new possibilities. Whether the change comes from something positive or negative we need to be flexible. Don’t be so set in your ways that you do not allow for change. As change is how we grow into the person we are meant to be.

Sorry, I’m going to have to end this article now. My alarm is going off.


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