Plan B (B is for Better)

pipe to UGL2

The recent rain opened up a new section of our usual kayak route.  Beautiful picture taken by my talented friend, Mary Ann

 

Over the last few years I’ve learned to loosen my grip and let go of preconceived expectations.  This was more out of self-preservation than desire to give up trying to control everything and everyone.

I’ve always felt that if I didn’t orchestrate my life then things would surely begin to unravel. But when I finally realized that I was unraveling, I let go. I was so tired of trying to keep all the balls in the air that I just gave up trying. It wasn’t easy or comfortable, but I was tired and I needed a rest, so I just let go.

And I waited for everything to come crashing down around me.

But it didn’t.

To my surprise, things at work, at home and in my relationships  didn’t deteriorate and, over time (and with practice),  I became much more relaxed and less stressed. Life became more manageable and enjoyable!

I’ve learned a few things about myself in this process, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned about my relationships. Not feeling the need to always control things and taking a step back has made space for me to hear and really listen to those around me. I feel as if my relationships are more balanced and authentic and have even been told that I’m more fun to be around! I sure hope so!

Letting go of preconceived expectations has eliminated the trap of paralyzing disappointment when things don’t go as planned. But what’s really exciting for me is that I’m now more open and curious to what I can learn from alternate plans. I feel like I have more of a variety of experiences with people, places and things. My world has expanded.

I recently made reservations at what appeared (online) to be a great restaurant. When I arrived I realized it wasn’t where we wanted to spend the evening with our friends. Not only wasn’t it low-key enough, but I had actually mistakenly made reservations at one of the other locations…..in another state!  We had a good laugh about my online reservation blunder, decided on another restaurant, had a delicious meal, a great time and, since we were so close to our place, were able to extend the evening back there. Plan B worked out better!

Sometimes I can’t find the products I usually use and end up trying other products that I like better, or my preferred hotel is booked and we end up staying at a really great place and make wonderful memories. One time my husband and I even planned an entire trip around a visit to a National Park only to find out once we got there that it was closed due to a government shutdown! This experience turned out to be the subject of one of my first blog posts.

Rather than wallow in disappointment, sadness, fear, and even anger that your plans don’t work out, be curious, adventurous and spontaneous and embrace Plan B!

It could be the Best thing you ever did!

 

Do you have an example of when Plan B worked out better? I’d love to hear about it!

 

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Lose Your Stuff And Find Yourself

I really didn’t have a game plan, I just knew that getting rid of things made me feel better. Over time, letting go of the clothes, household goods, personal items, relationships and commitments that didn’t “add value to my life,” to quote The Minimalists (https://www.theminimalists.com/), allowed me to focus on what was beneath it all!

At first it was a little overwhelming. Without all of the distractions, I had no choice but to examine myself.

I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round hole and rather than get to know and embrace who I was, I found it easier to fulfill the various roles that I held: daughter, sister, friend, student, wife, mother, teacher. There was some sense of comfort in knowing what each role required and carrying out my “duties” to perfection.

But perfection isn’t ever attainable. I found that I was constantly concerned that I wasn’t meeting my high standards (or my assumptions of what others’ expected)  and exhausted for continually trying. I felt inauthentic. 

This time was different. I had simplified my life to the point of having fewer distractions and in grieving the loss of my dad realized that, while roles are fleeting and can disappear at any moment, who we are at our core is constant.

This time, I decided to remain focused on my simplicity journey and myself. I let go of the need to be in control, the expectations of others and the all or nothing attitude. These things hadn’t served me well, in fact, they depleted me.

I’ve shed many of my old habits and replaced them with what makes me feel balanced and happy (close relationships, meditation, nature, to name a few). I’ve written about them and my self-care routine in earlier essays if you want to read about them in more detail.  

I bring who I am to every relationship, rather than what I think any role might dictate.

Being authentic and following my heart is surprisingly easy. Simplifying me has made things less complicated, more carefree and lighter. I’m happier and able to focus my time and energy on what’s really important and meaningful to me and those that I love.

Who knew that losing my stuff would lead to finding myself?

Lose Your Stuff And Find Yourself

In the moment with Ellie!

Thanks so much for reading! Writing is something that I really enjoy doing. It helps me sort things out, in a way, and I hope that by sharing my personal journey I can help someone else or make even one person feel less alone. Please share if you’ve connected with my message and/or if you think someone else might. Thank you! xox

Jeanne