Challenges – Tripping Over Life aka Plan B

So as my weekend approaches, I look forward to my days off and getting things done. Or maybe it’s a Monday and I have a plan of what I want to do. I always have a plan. I look at what I want to accomplish, the goals I’ve set, the time I have to work with. I carefully gauge how long things should take me for each task. I take into account the weather, the travel time, the position of the sun and moon, and the tidal charts. I read my horoscope and prepare. It all looks good in my head, or on paper for that matter. My plan of attack laid, I approach with a battle cry and gusto! Only to trip over life on my road to accomplishing my goals. Before I know it, my plan is in shambles, my days off are over, or it’s time to go to work or whatever – and none of it went like I planned. Things such as sick kids, or emergencies, or delays, traffic, unexpected phone calls, purple elephants in tutus falling from the sky, and occasional necessary 4 hour long gaming session have all thrown my schedule out the window. Then I look back sadly, thinking “the best laid plans of mice and men” are often scattered behind me. Honestly, I don’t know how time manages to get away from me so quickly. Trying to stick to a plan for me is often times like trying to nail jello to a tree.

Now if you talk to some people in my life, they will say it’s just that I’m not motivated to get these goals done. Or that I’m not setting my priorities right. Hm, that could be part of it. But honestly, just part. When I look back over my days and see how I actually spent my time, and what I did spend my time on, often times, it seems like things that were beyond my control. Not always, but a lot of the time. I mean, who can plan for purple elephants falling from the sky in pink tutus? That wasn’t on the weather report for the day! I spend a lot of my time feeling like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, looking at my watch feeling like I’m late. I joke with my friends saying I’m being like Tigger bouncing around from here to there. And a lot of my time is spent that way, jumping from task to task – not from choice, but from necessity. I take this one here and drop them off, only to turn around and pick this one up there, only to jump over here and do this, or bounce there and do that. I have a calendar on my wall to write things on, a pocket calendar in my purse to write it down on, I have online to do lists, an online family planner – you would think I was the most organized person in the world with all my places I write my schedule down. I get email alerts when appointments come up, I make written plans for the day, check lists, what have you. But somehow – time seems to slip through my fingers and I don’t know how to grab onto it.

I started this blog in January. I had very definite ideas of what I wanted to accomplish this year. Maybe some of the goals were a bit far reaching – but they are good goals. And I can’t say I haven’t made progress. I have. And I can’t say I’m not happier. I am. A lot has changed this year so far. Maybe some of the biggest changes are the ones I can’t show evidence of because they are changes inside me. Which may not look as good on paper, but feel good inside. I guess it just gets frustrating when I have these ideals in my head of what I want to accomplish and then get none of it done. It’s also frustrating when my physical body doesn’t cooperate. The over 6 years of working on midnight shift has taken it’s toll on me. There was a time when I was younger that there was that reserve well of energy to draw from when I needed a big push to finish something, or stay up a few more hours, or whatever. That well is dry. Now, when I look for that extra oomph to keep going, it’s just not there. I’m not saying it won’t come back. Just saying for now – there’s just no extra. Sometimes these days it’s just a struggle to stay awake through the day or night depending. I get frustrated with myself for not having endless energy, not having endless motivation, not having the get up and go I use to have. It almost feels like an excuse when I say to someone I just don’t have the energy to do something. Or that my body just hurts too much to do it. I think sometimes people don’t get it. I try to explain to like my kids – it’s not that I’m just being lazy when I sit down at the dining room table and fall asleep sitting up. It’s not just because I don’t want to when I go to play a game with them and fall asleep in the chair. I’m not kidding when I don’t remember what I said 15 minutes ago, or what they asked me, or what day of the week it is. I’m not being mean when I ask them to take the trash out because I can’t lift it high enough to get it in the dumpster. My husband thinks I’m being lazy when I use the little button to close the hatch on our van because he doesn’t realize the pain I feel when I lift my arms over my head and try to pull it down by hand. Not that I want their pity. Or for them to just do it for me. I guess what I want is for them (and me) to realize the limitations that I have right now. To be realistic with my goals. Maybe when I make these plans each time, I need to consider putting a little less on my plate and to take all these things into consideration. Maybe instead of making a to do list that include building an arc I can start with a row boat. And then get some help paddling to shore. On to Plan B.


Carpe Diem


Seize the day. Today, make things happen. Today, you can make changes, you can make better choices, you can take first steps, continue on a path, or let go of things. Life doesn’t stop or even notice you. It will keep going whether you are ready or not. And sometimes, it moves pretty fast. It’s easy to get behind, or feel lost, or even frustrated. But all you can do is let go of it and try to catch the next day. I have been having to do that a lot. Life also sometimes has other plans for you than you were expecting. You want to go in one direction and life pushes you in another direction. You can either let that frustrate you and get angry or you can adjust and move with it. You can listen to the ebb and flow and not fight against it. Sometimes it’s telling you that you are not moving fast enough, and sometimes, you are trying to do too much.

Things like lines use to frustrate me. I always look at the lines in stores and try to pick the shortest, or the quickest by assessing what people have in their carts or hands. Inevitably, whatever line I choose will end up with a long delay for one reason or another – a price check, an elderly person who is confused, a person who takes 20 minutes to dig out exact change. My usual reaction use to be to sigh heavily and stand there being frustrated. Why? I’m in a hurry, I’ve got things to do! And? Why let this ruin my day? Instead, I decided that I could use this time enjoyably. I take a moment to laugh at the insane headlines on the magazine covers. Or I take out my phone and play with my ringtones. Or I talk to my kids about something. Or I call someone to catch up. Same thing goes for traffic. I will consider my routes and try to figure out which way will be the quickest. It will end up being bumper to bumper traffic, or construction, or an accident. I can take that time to glare at other drivers, or beat on my steering wheel in frustration. Why? Instead, I take the time to search for new radio station with cool music. Or if really bad, I always have a book on me that I can read while I sit. Another opportunity to shoot off a text or call. BUT – not while moving! Texting and driving kills! Also another opportunity to play a silly word game, or sing with my son. Teaching him new jokes is always fun too. In other words – you can take a situation like this and allow it to ruin your day – or you can see it as an opportunity to catch your breath, enjoy the moment, and appreciate the little break from rushing.

That’s not to say that bad days don’t happen. Yesterday – a bad day. My computer got a virus which required several long, grueling scans to clean up. The desk I was trying to assemble was not cooperating, requiring me to go to the hardware store and buy parts, as well as finding tools that were misplaced. Then to learn that the new television required different wires than the ones we had to hook up our various electronics. Sigh. But also, during this time, I was making dinner – which I pulled out and served. Only to find out the BBQ pork ribs, which I thought were done, were raw in the middle. Sigh. So, back into the oven with them, and start rushing around to do things. Only to almost burn them, yanking them out to spill hot pork grease on my feet. Yup, good times. Then, I had a raging headache. The kind that makes it hard to even think. So, I decided, after boys were in bed, chores were done, I would just go to bed. Only to be awoken at 4am by this raging headache. Crawling blindly to the bathroom and choking down something for it, I crawled back into bed praying that it would go away. It did. Bring me to today. A new day. A new chance.

First thing on the agenda – coffee. Must. Have. Coffee. Especially at 6am. Go to make coffee. Fill the pot, start dumping it into the maker, only to learn too late that beloved hubby had at some point started making coffee by filling it with water – but never finishing. So yeah, flooded the whole counter, and floor. Sigh. Clean that up and cursing under my breath. Was this going to be another one of those days? NO! I will not let it ruin my day. Instead, I choose to laugh at it and move forward. Carpe Diem! I will not let silly things ruin it for me. Instead, I will CHOOSE to have a good day, no matter what life chooses to throw at me. Ebb and flow. Realize that my agenda may point me in the direction I want to go, but like a tree, I will bend at the wind, not try to force against it. Make today the best day it can be – one today at a time.