Surviving Broken Plans & Life’s Reset Button

I know I say this a lot anymore but wow what a difference a year can truly make. As I let the dogs out this morning and stood watching the sun fill the house with all its shiny glory I was thinking about everything on my to do list for the week and about the crazy amount of writing I did last night in such a short amount of time.

This time last year I was still trying to throw myself together. I woke up with goals—writing goals, goals for my classes, and goals for my house but I lacked a few important things: motivation, passion, ambition, and desire. So, I spent lots of days watching Netflix, trolling Facebook, and barely working on any of my goals.

I did however spend a lot of time in books but not my usual ones. Instead of romance novels I indulged in the world of non-fiction and not only non-fiction books but audiobooks at that! I listened to mounds of self-help and inspirational books (because obviously I was lacking in that department) as well as books on psychology and personal memoirs. The only book I was reading the “old school” way was my Bible (but technically my Bible is on my kindle so I guess that’s not completely old school.) LOL!

I tried to write and some days I would but my heart wasn’t in it. My passion wasn’t there because Michelle wasn’t back at full capacity yet. I wrote but not for my books instead I was journaling my life and my feelings. Talk about scary stuff!

After coming out of the dark of my grief cave, I had a problem. For the first time in my life I didn’t know what I should be doing or how I should be doing it. The only tangible thing I could plan and prepare for was my classes but you can only do so many lesson plans for a semester long class. Once that small part of my life was fully planned and settled I had to return to the real issue—myself.

Now, believe it or not I’ve always had a plan for my life. Even as a little girl I knew what I wanted to accomplish—back then it was to be the best little student I could be to make my family proud. Then in middle school, I realized I wanted to be an accountant. I know weird, right? But I loved numbers and structure and it sounded like a good career choice. And it was.

But it wasn’t enough. I knew that only three years into the workforce, because I was bored and felt completely unsettled. So what did I do after earning my CPA? I went back to school to get my Masters. Teaching sounded like fun. I’d always loved school so wouldn’t it be great to get paid to go there instead of paying to be there? And that’s exactly what I did.

During that time the writing bug bit me and I started playing with characters and meeting new people from all over the country courtesy of Twitter. For the numbers girl who hated English class this was out of my norm or at least so I thought until I found journals penned by little Miss Michelle. I had a greater imagination than I remembered. The rational practical Michelle had blocked those things out when she threw her focus into accounting and academics.

When 2013 hit, I finally felt like I was moving in the right direction. I graduated with my MBA, was going to start teaching my first class in the fall, and it was time to get on with living and start a family. My life plan was coming together. I don’t need to remind most of you reading this post but you know my well-laid plans came crashing down when Chris died. It’s hard to start a family without your husband. Some days it’s hard to even breathe when you’re dealing with that aftermath.

For the first time in my life last year I was without a plan. I knew I enjoyed writing and being in the classroom was the only place I felt normal after Chris’s death so no brainer on my place there. But now what to do with my future?

I had nothing to make plans for. I set lofty writing goals that I didn’t meet. I tried to ignore the personal dreams I had for my life because I saw no way to control when and/or how they’d happen for me. I could’ve started my doctorate but while I love accounting the thought of more schooling (for the first time ever) made me want to vomit.

What did I do? I prayed a lot. I read just as much. I shopped. I went to church. I worked out. I went to counseling. I cleaned. I organized. I traveled. I met new people. I spent time with the ones I love.

And then I realized something. Something big. Something freeing.

Everything was going to be just fine. I’m not in control God is. Maybe you believe in something else like the Universe but regardless realizing that you’re not in control (and sorry to burst your bubble none of us are—life happens to us all) will set you free from your shackles.

Once I wasn’t stuck on what I should be doing and basking in the freedom of giving up control something magical happened. My little brain was able to see beyond today and begin planning again. Now when I plan my life it doesn’t include the stress it once did like the worries of failure and what people will think when I fall flat on my face. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to fail but sometimes when we fail it’s a set up for a smarter, better restart. And I’ve been flat on my face for all the world to see lost, broken, and lifeless. Turns out I can pick myself up again from that place. Falling down gives you the opportunity to start fresh with the knowledge that you’re strong enough to get back up if you hit the ground again. Falling is normal (heck I tumbled with my trash can just last week) but staying stuck on the ground is NOT an option.

This year, I’ve got big plans but this time they’re backed by motivation, ambition, and passion. Plans to write and finish a book about surviving grief. Turns out that book is what was keeping me from throwing myself into my other projects. I’m going to torture–I mean teach accounting students again. (Something that is second nature to me and keeps my academic side well satisfied.) I’m going to follow my heart—try new things, read different kinds of books, and explore the world a little more. I’m ready and willing to see all the beauty this year will bring and the new doors it opens up. This planner has learned a valuable lesson—plans are necessary but that doesn’t mean you have to put a due date on every single task of your life (and then get all mopey when things don’t happen on your terms in your time.) Flexibility in your plans is a good thing. Structure and spontaneity—life needs that kind of balance. It keeps things fresh and fun while moving forward to the end goal—a full and happy life.

If you feel like everything is falling apart take a minute and reassess. Don’t be afraid! It’s just life hitting your reset button. Get your heart ready and willing for your next adventure! Embrace change and roll into the next level! Work hard, never give up, and you’ll never miss the opportunities life has for you! Remember, you’ve got this! 😉


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