The blessings of an unplanned life

copyright istockphoto.com

copyright istockphoto.com

I make a plan and it laughs in my face.

That's what I thought yesterday as the morning gave way to the pressing (if you will) situation happening in front of me. I'd just locked Cate's infant carrier into the base and had walked around to the other side of the car in search of Blake. Normally, I'd see his chubby legs hanging out the back passenger door. "I do it myseff!" he says. Instead, I found him standing in the garage.

"Blake, come on," I said, walking towards him. "It's time to go."

He waved his hands and shouted, "Stay!" When my probably-should-be-potty-trained-by-now child says "stay" it means I must keep my distance while he takes care of business. There's no interrupting—or rushing—this process.

"Are you done?" I asked five minutes later. "Stay!" he said again.

By some miracle, I was showered and looking quite presentable, and I had the best intentions of dropping Blake off at preschool in plenty of time to pop into Starbucks and write before my meeting at 10. I'm never going to get anything done for the rest of my life, I whined to myself. I began to count all the things that were stacking up, itemizing and obsessing over everything on my plate. And that's when I heard another voice.

You were not planned.

What?

You were not planned.

True. I am, technically, not supposed to be here. I was conceived out of wedlock and born into a marriage of emotional and physical abuse and that "family" (for lack of any other word I can think of at the moment) dissolved by the time I was three.

I was not planned. But I am not a mistake. It's something I've been told countless times, but I've always been filled with a sense of deep knowing. I've never doubted my existence. But this is a piece of my story I've downplayed, choosing not to be defined by it. I can assure you this was not the blog post I would have written if Blake had settled his potty issues at some other point in time. But now I see how this part of the story relates to the one I've been telling you all along.

Leaving TV news was a defining moment in my life. Changing course after so much time invested was not the plan. The plan was to become wildly successful in that career and live happily ever after. It took a significant amount of unraveling to get to the point where I was ready to take a leap and reinvent my life. I've put a lot of emphasis on that story because I understand its importance. I can see how telling it might be helpful to others.

I think intellectually, we all know and understand that life doesn't always go as planned. We've discussed it so many times. It doesn't keep us from setting goals and getting up each day and working towards something we believe in. That's equally important.

But now I see—I really see—how some of life's most beautiful blessings aren't born from plans. And I hope I'll remember that the next time I'm holding on to an agenda, a belief or an idea so tightly that it's hurting me more than it's helping. When my stress level rises over things I can't control, I hope I'll remember that letting go of control is exactly what I need to do. I hope I'll remember to relax, shift my focus to the present and trust.