I was once someone who always needed a plan. A plan made me feel secure and made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Go to school, go to University, get your first job, take no time off. As a people pleaser I did what everyone expected of me and making them happy, in turn, made me happy.
In high school I proudly wore my promise ring from my high school boyfriend of three years. I honestly thought that I’d end up marrying him and build a life in the small town where I grew up. My parents met in grade ten and stayed together so why would that not be my fate?
When I went to University, my high school boyfriend and I broke up. I dated a bit in my 20’s and always remained a happy and committed partner to whomever I was dating. When I met my ex-husband, we were great friends for about three years before we dated. He proposed on my 30th birthday and I had a plan. Sure I had wanted to get married at the age of 25 and had a mini meltdown on my 25th birthday when I was not engaged to be married, but by 30, I knew that I was sticking to a plan.
We moved into a beautiful house, both had jobs we loved, and even had a bulldog named Hudson. Things were going according to plan until they weren’t.
One year after getting married, my ex-husband and I spilt and it shattered my world. In life, if you did everything right, you would be rewarded. Right? If you created a plan and worked hard to follow that plan, everything would work out. Right?
Looking back, I can’t believe how naïve I was back then. Having a plan made me so secure but it also sent me into anxiety mode when the boxes weren’t being checked off perfectly. With a plan, I was expecting way too much of myself as well as expecting too much of everyone around me.
After my divorce, I wanted to get a tattoo so I got the word “change” on my wrist. The purpose of the tattoo was to constantly remind myself that change was a good thing. There was a time where anxiety filled my stomach when someone mentioned the word “change.” In going through my divorce, I realized that change was actually a blessing.
It’s funny how often I’ve looked at my tattoo because change has been such a prevalent part of my life. For someone so scared of it at one time, I feel as though I have really been tested to accept that change can and will occur and the best way to deal with change is to be open to it.
In fact, my tattoo of “change” has never been as meaningful as it is right now – in being seven weeks pregnant as a future Choice Mom.
There is this commercial on television for a car and when things don’t go as planned it just says “recalculating” and I have to laugh at it because I feel like this describes my life. Another person once told me to just yell “plot twist” when something unexpected happens. Instead of getting mad at myself or anxious about my life I just try to say the words “recalculating” or “plot twist” and it tends to make me feel better.
In telling people that I am pregnant, they really want to know the “plan”. When will I leave work? When will I return to work? Will I move in with my parents? Who is going to help me? Will I stay in Toronto? Where will I live? Can I afford Toronto as a single mother? Should I leave Toronto and try to get hired by a new school board?
So many questions and unfortunately, I don’t have the answers.
If a couple people ask me these questions, I can usually just breathe through the questions. It’s almost as though I need to help their anxiety because they are worried about me and are searching for some kind of plan.
The issue is that I don’t really have a plan. The old Sarah, would have never have been able to deal without some sort of “plan.” I would have had a plan as well as five back-up plans and I’d be checking off lists making sure that everything was going according to plan.
When I planned to have a baby in the past, I always just assumed it would be in a detached home with two extra bedrooms – two babies (the perfect family).
Now I live in a beautiful condo but it is small and I am not exactly sure where everything is going to fit. But it is okay. I am okay and baby will be okay.
Things are going to change. As of right now, I think I’ll be staying in the city but I have no actual idea what will happen between now and one year from now. Do any of us, really? When I had a plan in life, nothing went according to my plan.
A couple summers ago, I went on a wine tour and about ten of us were sitting in a bus. My friends were kind enough to humour me in a game that I always love to play. Instead of the game “truth or dare”, I created a game called “truth 1 or truth 2.” Truth one is full of silly questions such as “what is your favourite food?” while truth two questions are often very deep such as “what is the scariest moment you have ever had in your life?” As someone who prefers really deep questions, I always hope that someone will say that they are willing to answer a “truth 2” question.
One of my friends said they’d like to tackle a truth two question that was later open to the entire group. My question to my friends was “do you feel as though your life has gone according to plan? Did you ever think you would be where you are right now in your life?”
Every single person said “no.”
I was absolutely shocked. On that drive I listened to friends discuss how they weren’t where they thought they’d be when it came to relationships, work, finances, children, etc.
So my question is, if nobody’s life is really going according to plan, why do we all feel like we need to have a plan?
My “plan” is to try to bring this baby to term. All I am trying to do right now is to have a healthy pregnancy. Unfortuantely I can’t share the logistics of where I am living, where my baby will go to daycare, what sort of support system I am going to have, etc. I honestly just want to live each day as it comes.
You know who has a plan? The universe. I know that sounds a bit crazy and my sister absolutely HATES when I mention the word “universe” because she thinks it is so bizzare but I really feel like we are all being taken care of.
When you see a pregnant Mama or hear that someone is pregnant, maybe we lay off the questions because it can be too much. Maybe we just ask “how are you feeling?” That’s a great question to start with. Don’t get me wrong – this is the pot calling the kettle black. I ask so many questions to people but I am going to start trying to check myself. I am going to ask myself “is this a question to help the person or is this just a question because I am nosy? Do they actually need my “help” in bringing up this question?”
Sometimes questions can just really add up and for me, it is starting to feel like a lot. I feel like I am not able to please everyone and that maybe I am doing something really wrong because I don’t have a plan.
Then I have to stop and remind myself that I am okay. Things will work out and no matter where I live, which daycare my child will attend, or where I will work, this baby will be so loved. In the end, all that really matters is that there is a whole lot of love.
Wishing everyone a great week and if you don’t have a one, five or ten year plan, join the club! We are all just trying to get by and sometimes living without a plan can be the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself.