“We can’t plan life. All we can do is be available for it.” – Lauryn Hill
Growing up I planned to go to medical school and become a veterinarian. Then college chemistry was impossible for me to understand, and after trying three times I finally changed my plan and became an English major. This change eventually led to a senior position in an established family-owned firm where I am generally very happy and successful.
I planned to marry my high school crush, have children and live happily ever after. I had the wedding, couldn’t have the children and found evidence of infidelity along with a so-what attitude, so I changed my plan again and got divorced. This change led to a second marriage and the “typical life” with two kids, a cat, and everything else that is considered part of married life.
Before I got married the second time, I planned to spend time with my mom and go away for fun weekends, go shopping, talk on the phone every day, give her grandchildren to spoil. Then the ER doctor took me to a private, secluded room and told me there was nothing he could do, he couldn’t save her. This change led to a hole in my heart that never heals and clouds everything with bittersweet emotions.
What I never planned was realizing as I was about to go over the “hump” of mid-40s that I felt lost, lonely, and invisible and that the stable life I had wasn’t enough for me anymore. I certainly never planned to fall in love with a woman! I never planned to want a second divorce and start a completely different life from what I had always imagined I wanted. But life does not go according to our plans.
And now I am planning the conversations that will begin the ending process, though I know that they will likely not go in any way close to what I have planned and practiced. Some might be better than I thought and some will surely be worse, but if I plan for a potential outcome, even if it doesn’t happen, I feel a little more prepared to handle whatever may come with how my life unfolds, hopefully bringing my happiness. Maybe a less specific plan is what I need to be available for my life, since my specific plans have always changed. Maybe I should plan not to plan and just embrace every day as it comes.