A favorite line of mine is from John Lennon’s song, Beautiful Boy – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
How true that is. So many of the powerful lessons or great opportunities in my life came about while I was building elaborate plans to keep life moving in the way I felt it should go. I’d never factored them in.
All of my life I’ve been a planner. The first half I was an ‘extreme planner.’ To the point that the joke in the family became ‘he’s a little bit country, she’s a little bit OCD.”
I mean, I had Word templates made and printed for everything – holidays, projects, doctor visits, meal planners, and even vacations. I hated spontaneity. It made me feel vulnerable.
My old therapist and I talked at length about the genesis of that. The final consensus was that it was part of the armor I’d created as a child. No surprises allowed.
Understanding it didn’t change it; because by that time I was ensconced in a career where that particular trait had become my Ace card. It set me apart from my peers and was the reason I was being promoted regularly.
No good dead goes unpunished, and neither does a good planner 😂
It wasn’t until I started having health problems – serious ones – in my thirties, that I started trying to let go of this need to orchestrate every minute of my life. (However Tora, I still end the day with an empty inbox 😳)
It took until my forties to free myself of the paralyzing parts of that trait. Martial arts was probably the most crucial element of my journey to spontaneity. Don’t know how exactly, but that decade really loosened that part of my armor. I suppose the very process of strengthening my body and achieving the confidence of self-defense, allowed me to relax more into the sometime off-beat rhythm of life.
By the time we made it to Colorado, I had tightened only the part of my armor that was profitable for accomplishing my goals, and started to let the rest slip away.
More importantly, I had learned to really live in the acceptance that I couldn’t control life and that good & bad happen to us all.
I finally understood that survivors learn to surf, swim or sail through the unexpected; and the heavily armored are still subject to sinking in spite of their efforts to protect themselves.
I had learned to let life just happen in its own glorious; and at times, crazy way.