Broken Plans

broken glassLife has a way of ensuring we recognize just how ridiculous we can be.

When that happens, our only choices are to get mad or to laugh at ourselves.

I choose to laugh.

I laugh a lot.

I have to. If I didn’t, I’d constantly be mad.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t say and do things differently if  I could turn back time, or at a minimum, give just one piece of advice to the young woman I once was – a young woman with a college degree in her hand and ridiculous ideas about life in her head.

If I could give that advice, I know exactly what I’d say.

“Don’t make plans without the expectation they should sometimes be broken.”

That’s it. Those words might seem trite, but after spending nearly 27 years as an official adult, they are extremely meaningful. They would  have saved me from hours of worrying that I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations and have greatly expedited my understanding that life generally happens as life is supposed to happen. Sometimes our missteps are our greatest teachers and sometimes they lead us in a direction we would never have chosen when left to our own devices.

For example, just over two years ago I wrote a blog about how I was leaving the nonprofit world. I had worked for nonprofit organizations for nearly 20 years and was feeling both frustrated and under appreciated. I wasn’t happy with how decisions were being made and felt I had to spread my wings.

I may have spread my wings, but I certainly didn’t soar. In fact, I flapped around for over a year until finally landed exactly where I belong – in a nonprofit organization.

I can’t say my current job is easy. It’s not. In fact, it’s hectic, demanding and challenging. I also have some of the same complaints I had over two years ago regarding how others don’t appreciate the skills, education and competence that are required to work in a social service organization.

Yet I couldn’t be happier.

Sometimes, going down the wrong path is exactly what we need to show us the path we need to be taking.stained glass

Sometimes experiencing where we don’t belong is exactly what we need to recognize where we truly do belong.

And sometimes, not getting what we want is exactly what we need to recognize that God gave us a specific set of skills and gifts for a reason. That reason generally isn’t to continue down the path we want but instead it is to make the world a better place in our own unique way.

As I think back to the 22 year-old woman I once was, I know I had a strong sense of where I wanted to go in life. That makes me laugh, but that laugh is full of joy.

Most of the plans I made have been shattered, but picking up the pieces and rearranging them has been an adventure. It has allowed me to create something even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on December 15, 2014, in My life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I was unable to ‘like’ this post for some reason…so this comment wil have to replace the click of a like button! Nice post 🙂

  2. Hi Trina,
    You must be reading my mind at the moment. I am very well-intentioned but the craziest things happen to me and yes, you can either laugh or cry and fall in a screaming heap. For example…I just accidentally deleted all our Christmas Day photos off the SD card for the camera went out and photographed tonight and then remembered…!!! My husband works in IT and is now hard at work downloading software to retrieve them. There were 28 people at our family lunch and I had requests so it will be major egg on face if this doesn’t work.
    The boot housing my broken foot has also been decorated in Christmas decorations and in streamers tonight. I broke it walking on grass so yet again…have to laugh!!
    I’m not good with planning myself, particularly after chemo this year but I am a huge fan of a quote by John Lennon:
    “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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