“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” ~John Lennon (Beautiful Boy)
Isn’t there a saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans? I used to make lots of plans, right down to the tiniest detail. He must have thought them really funny because the majority fell through, and even the ones I followed through never actually happened quite the way I planned. Fortunately, we are unable to see into the future and know the bigger picture. I am so thankful that many of my plans did not come to fruition.
I seem to function better flying by the seat of my pants than sticking to an agenda. Well, I actually like having a rough idea of what I am doing, but I don’t like having to adhere to a set-in-stone schedule. The strange thing is that I used to lives by lists, rules, and schedules. I wanted someone to tell me where to be and what to do. I liked knowing what I was up against in life. It gave me comfort. I felt responsible. I didn’t like what I called the feeling of floundering. And yet, some would probably consider me to be floundering through life these days. Daily, I am met with requirements and expectations, but if they fall out of order, I just go with it. It doesn’t do anyone any good for me to get my panties in a wad over it, and it certainly won’t help put order back in the day.
I don’t think anyone has ever been as disappointed in me as I have been in myself when I have not met self-imposed expectations. I’ve heard that one must manifest their dreams if they want them to come true. My problem is that I really don’t have one concrete dream. Well, yes, I enjoy writing, but I do it for the pleasure. I did want to finish the nonfiction book I was working on until I allowed myself to be put off by an agent’s opinion. No, she didn’t even look at my manuscript. She was on the receiving end of my ill-prepared book pitch at my writer’s conference last year. She didn’t listen…she actually stopped me and asked me if I had a PhD to which the answer was a most definite no. She then told me that unless I was a celebrity such as Oprah or had the proper letters following my name, that a nonfiction book based on experience would never sell. Ok, I could have steamed myself with negativity and desire to prove her wrong. What did I do…I still steamed myself with negativity for a few days, and then decided it was my cue to drop the book idea. So, maybe you call it surrender, but I realize that just because I think something is a beneficial idea that the rest of the world might not perceive it as so. (And after all, an agent’s job is the secure work that she/he feels is sellable.) I figure if it really is a dream, it has not died. (Trust me, I have NOT deleted my files!) I’ve considered picking up one of my fiction manuscripts and starting over, and as my friend, Ev, suggested I can always incorporate my material into one of my characters. Of course, with work I suppose it is possible, but I don’t know if I really want to do that. I don’t want to lose the pleasure of writing. I can write this blog without limitations. I can write when I want, as often or seldom as I want, and about what I want. So, maybe that is my dream. Maybe, I don’t need a hardback cover to encase my dream. Or do I? I must add that I have never aspired to be famous in anything I do. I like my life just the way it is. Yes, I am somewhat complacent…yet I am malleable. However, what I want most from anything I do (writing or otherwise) is not to entertain others but to help them in some small way, even if only to make them reflect their own choices on their lives.
Sometimes, life does not always go according to plan. You must be flexible, willing to take a different route, or to even pick up and start over. I used to flip out if things were out of order or did not go according to my plans. Somewhere along the way my balance has shifted. I have handed over control, and am enjoying the ride. After all, most of us had retirement plans, and most of our 401K’s took a nose dive last year. Our trip out West this past year was a prime example of having to step back and reevaluate situations. First we got locked out of our car in the middle of the wilderness. Well, ok, I depended on God and Dirt Man to get us out of that one…and they both delivered! However, we did have some major hikes planned, and then Dirt Man injured his leg. Fortunately, we had a Plan B and Dirt Man had lots of Google Earth knowledge stored in his head. I’m sure we’d have had a great time on those other hikes, but we were able to experience a vast amount of territory that we otherwise would not have covered. I say life is to be lived not just managed. My point is that if we get too caught up in the negative emotions of disappointment, we fail to appreciate was is right in front of us. We neglect to live in the moment. And you just never know…that one moment might just end up being the best one of your life.