Life Interrupted: Dealing With a Change in Plans

 You're moving along with plans and goals when suddenly, you get sick, you lose your job, your find out your spouse is filing for divorce, the house you wanted to buy got sold to someone else....

It doesn't matter what the interruption is, it's often human nature to stomp our feets, pout, express self-pity, blame others, or go on and on about it to anyone with an ear and some patience.

They asked people who lived to 100+ and found that one feature that was prominent was adaptability. A new reality? They just went with it. They MacGuyver'd their lives. They weren't so set in their way or perfection that they couldn't see opportunities and resources, lessons or skills that came out of the change in plans. 

My entire life has been based on - what's around me to work with, what situation am I in? What resources do I have? And most of all, can I continue faith even when things are so scary?

The opposite of fear is love. I have an actual personal choice to express one or the other. I can be afraid, kick and scream, feel personally offended by the fates or others, or I can simply appreciate that I have my wits about me, I can gather a plan, enact it, and perhaps in a serendiptuous way, be thankful and find a path that is even more surprisingly ideal while gaining new skills. 

If it sometimes feels like God flicks at your goals and projects, knocking them out of your path, there might be a reason. This may be orchestrated.

There are no obstacles in your path. The obstacles ARE the path. 


Obstacles are challenges. They aren't always challenges to continue to fight to get to the goal. They may be challenges to develop a better course.

When I was growing up, I took six years of acting. I was obsessed with plays, scripts, acting, basically I loved the concept of getting paid to do make believe because I loved storytelling.

I took classes, I entered modeling and pageants, I tried out for commercials and plays. And, I found out I was horrible. Absolutely not an actress.

For a long time after walking away from that dream, I went on to college and studied communications and film and literature. I started writing manuscripts as storytelling was truly the part of movie-making and acting that was my passion. My passion wasn't pretending to be someone else, it was dreaming up the plot, the situations, the characters. 

Even later after publishing books, an opportunity came for me to write scripts. Now, I was able to give voice, action, setting, motivation to the process of moviemaking. I was giving the people meant to be actors, their lines.  As well, I was utilizing the true base of my talents; not acting, but creating the written word.

I could have kept tilting at windmills of acting into my adulthood but what I was really seeking was to create, not to enact.

Think of life as an EKG tracing.

If you sit down and write the years of your life along the bottom of a sheet of paper and put 1-10 along the left side of the paper going upward. You create a graph. Each year of your life, give it a 1-10 rating, taking into account losses and gains. 

It's rather humbling to realize we actually survive tough times and we go on to have great ones.

When I was 16, my father died. He was my world. I decided I would never be happy again.

But life moved on and actually some of the most happy moments of my life happened after he was gone. 

We are destined to ride up and down the hills of experience, sometimes sliding, other times stopping and thinking we can't take one more step up.  But, the journey persists and so does our ability to adapt.

All roads lead to the finish line. 

Some ways I handle the change in plans - 

1. Breathe.

2. Assess the real damage, not the consequences. In other words, don't travel down the road of bad outcomes in your mind.  There is no absolute for how things turn out. So, if you were counting on a check coming in and it didn't arrive, assess the damage, not the outcome. Sometimes this is as simple as saying, "well, what's done is done."

3.  Bypass anger and terror by seeing the challenge in the situation. How many ways can I approach this change in plans? What are all the possible choices next? With what I have now, how can I Macguyver a new outcome? If you spend too much time stomping your feet and getting angry things changed, you miss the true excitement that fate shot your way - the ability to see what you have to work with, what options are open, and how to accept the challenge to make something new. 

Recall the Black Knight, "tis but a scratch," "is that the best you got?" 

4.  There is nothing more essential at the time of a road block or loss than to gather your people. When a group gets together to mete out a plan or offer assistance, a team is built, a mission is set, and hope begins again.

Finally, let's look at a typical rom-com scenario:

A woman has a dream of romance and forever love. She stumbles through a boring job, an angry boss, an idiotic ex, and makes a million bad choices, can't pay her bills, embarrasess herself in public, and just when things seem they can't get any worse, she angers a stranger and then finds out she has to work with him. Through many misunderstandings and obstacles, the two fall in love.

Have you ever seen a life scenario that was a straight beeline to happiness? Do you think you'd enjoy a romance if the heroine and hero didn't have a million up's and down's? That is what is called, being human. 

The trail in which you had to carve many paths is the one you remember, take pride in, and meet people, situations, and opportunities that a straight beeline life wouldn't have allowed.

Sometimes fates force us, but it's for our own growth.

(my journal for sorting out the confusing days)