As I sit here today, I can’t help looking around and wondering how I got here. That’s the crazy thing about life. You don’t know where it’s going. You can’t see the twists and turns that will come into your path. What it’s taught me is to be adaptable when Plan A doesn’t work out. And it’s taught me that anything is possible.
When I was younger, I had a plan.
I thought I knew what my life was going to look like. I thought I knew what my career was going to look like. And I thought I knew what my family was going to look like.
What I have right now was nothing like what I envisioned at 20, or 30, and not exactly what I thought at 40. But it’s exactly what I want, and exactly what I need.
Life has taught me to adapt. It’s also taught me to improvise, and it’s taught me to overcome.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
It’s funny. I first heard the expression when I was in my teens. It was a line in a movie. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve recited that expression in my head. Or how many times I’ve said it to my children. Some days, it’s a mantra. What I didn’t realize was that I have been living a Marine Corps slogan. But it’s fit so many times in my life.
Life has thrown so many hurdles at me. It’s a bit of an inside joke.
I once asked my mother if she thought I was unlucky because things always seem to happen to me, or if I was lucky because I always seem to come out okay. We agreed: I’m lucky.
But the thing is, by now, it’s not luck. It’s the lessons that life has taught me.
Set your sights on what you want, and then find a way to get it. Keep going. When faced with obstacles, find a way. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
Things happen in life that you can’t predict.
Dreams change. Circumstances change. Goals and ambitions change. What makes you happy can change. But your ability to adapt to the new new dreams doesn’t change.
Don’t see a change in your situation as an insurmountable obstacle to your happiness. Determine what will make you happy and GO GET IT. Even if you can’t see quite what that end state is. Keep going. Take one step in that direction. And then another. And then another. Keep going.
Sometimes you can see that perfect picture. You know exactly what it looks like. Other times you have a fuzzy idea, and you need to move in that direction to make it clearer. And if things aren’t working, or they aren’t working out like you thought they would or should, that’s okay. Adapt to your changing situation.
Devise a new Plan A.
Don’t force things. If something doesn’t feel right, change something. Yesterday’s Plan A was yesterday’s plan. There is nothing that says you can’t come up with a new plan. There is nothing that says you can’t reinvent yourself. Not matter how hard you worked toward where you are now, no matter how much planned/spent/saved and educated/trained/worked yesterday’s plan is only as good as how happy it makes you.
If I had doggedly stuck to Plan A for my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I like where I am today. I like WHO I am today. Where I am today is the perfect place for me. But if I had rigidly stuck to Plan A, I’m pretty sure I would have been miserable. I’m not sure if I’m on Plan 50 or 500, but it’s the right one for me right now.
Going through my divorce, I was pretty sure of what my life was going to look like when it was done. I was wrong. But I like this so much better.