Yesterday was a very long day. I left the house at 7:00 AM and returned around 9:30 PM. Then I went for a walk. I was so tired when I finally went to bed last night - I planned I would be sleeping late today since I didn’t have any meetings or anything else scheduled. I woke up once early in the morning and refused to look at the clock, just turned over and went right back to sleep. I woke up again somewhat later, and was sure it had to be at least 8:00, which is quite late for me. I blinked several times when I looked at my watch - because it couldn’t possibly say 6:29, could it?
For crying out loud. I felt tired still! I was determined to sleep a little later. I closed my eyes. And I laid there, becoming more wide awake by the minute. I finally couldn’t stand lying still any longer, so I got up. And I went for a run. But I have been pondering all morning about how planning doesn’t always work out how I - well - plan for it to.
Take The Torch, for example. We spent hours planning how it would look and what we would do, first on a napkin, and then more formally. We planned how other organizations might get involved with us. We planned how our events would look. We planned the services we would offer. We planned and planned and planned all those essential logistical items long before we actually even had a food truck. Then we got the truck - and things became so real, and often we found we had to abandon the original plan and go with an alternative which would work so much better. The Torch doesn’t look exactly like those initial plans and dreams did. We have been surprised that, while we planned to partner with other non-profit organizations, we have actually found far more fulfilling, enriching, and helpful partnerships with small businesses of all things. Our events look similar to what we planned, yet they are always far better than what we anticipate. And, while we have been able to offer many of the services we originally planned to offer, we have not offered them in the way we envisioned. There are a few things we planned that we have not been able to do yet, but we know the time will come when they will happen, and they might not look exactly how we planned.
Life can be like that, as well. Nobody plans to be homeless, or jobless. Nobody plans to have a fall out with family, and lose that familial connection. Nobody plans for life to crash and friends to turn on them. Nobody plans to endure a nasty, painful divorce. Nobody plans to lose loved ones. Nobody plans to find him or herself mired in a sea of hopelessness. Those things are just not in the plans, but they happen. And, unfortunately, in this organized, scheduled, plan-filled society, when those things happen to people there tends to be a lack of sympathy. After all, if people planned better, they could avoid all those bad things, right? You would think so. It seems logical.
The problem is the world doesn’t actually work that way. It doesn’t revolve around your plans or my plans. It doesn’t operate solely for our lives to work out. Sure, planning is important, but so is flexibility. Flexibility, I have found, is a key to staying sane. Being flexible means if Plan A and Plan B and Plan C all do not work - and there is no Plan D or E or F - I will be okay and figure it out as I go. Sometimes that is what I have to do - and I continue to look for the good in it all. There was a point in my life, where all my planning went out the window. Nothing ever worked out how I hoped it would - and I was crushed again and again. Sometimes I thought there was no point for me to be around, after all, look at what a mess my life was in - I clearly didn’t know the first thing about how to make decisions and live life properly like everyone else did.
But, when that happened, it was the plan-ful me getting crushed. Inside, there is another, wiser person who refused to give up. That person would not get bogged down and overwhelmed by the fact nothing was working out. That person said - a million times - try something else, try something else, try something else, don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this… That voice was fueled by my faith in God and by the support of friends and family who believed in me. It was fueled by the people who listened to my cries of pain, and suspended judgment, who just loved and encouraged and cheered me on. It was fired by hope and faith and the knowledge that life is not about my plans, which can be changed by circumstances outside my control. It grew stronger as I learned to be flexible and relaxed so I can adapt and enjoy my life no matter which way it takes me.
Hope keeps me going; flexibility keeps me sane.