When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday I thought the universe was trying to tell me something.  For the second year in row on the Saturday of Family Day weekend, I dolefully unpacked the clothes and food and outdoor gear I had spent the day before organizing for a winter weekend away, and ended up going absolutely nowhere at all. Last year it was poor Will having suffered a concussion that kept the whole family from travelling as we had planned to; this year we had a kitten with a sudden case of digestive upset that we didn't feel right leaving for pet sitters to look after, and so I watched with tear-filled eyes as Matt and the boys drove off towards his parents' house up north while I stayed behind to make sure everything here was okay.  (It would appear now that the kittens are both just fine, in case you were wondering.)

I had a pity party for one for much of the day; it was Valentine's Day, after all, and instead of spending it skating and sledding and enjoying a nice meal with family, I was home alone, with only two (albeit very sweet) felines for company, one of whom kept trying to steal my food and drink the water out of my glass.  I sulked and muttered to myself that I had nothing to do now this weekend, and I wondered pettily, in the awfully foul mood I was in, why it seems pretty much nothing has been going my way this winter.

This morning, though, while I was cleaning the house from top to bottom (aside: why is it that when I think I have nothing to do, I default to cleaning everything in sight?), I realized that my negative thinking the day before had sunk me into an unnecessarily deep wallowing hole.  I couldn't see it earlier because the meticulous planner in me wasn't handling the sudden change in scenario well, but the epiphany came this morning: since when is a weekend all to oneself at home a bad thing?  I recalled the helpful advice of a therapist who recently suggested to me that just because I think things should be a certain way doesn't mean that's the only way they can be, that it's possible to have an alternative outcome and still be okay. It was up to me here to find a happier place from which to view the weekend landscape that now stretched before me.

Today I realize that if the universe is trying to tell me something, it is only that life is an unpredictable maze of potential outcomes, and that in any given situation, it is likely that more than one of these outcomes can be good.  Believing that I can always control everything with carefully laid out plans is simply setting myself up for disappointment.  Would I rather have gone to my inlaws' house with the rest of my family to celebrate Family Day weekend?  Of course I would have.  But I'm realizing today, as I relax in my delightfully clean house, with no real commitments or schedules or responsibilities I have to tend to for the next little while, that staying home alone just might be a nice opportunity, too.

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