Plans always change.
Be it having to forgo a race you trained long and hard for due to logistics or an injury, or even just attempting to plan out what you are going to cook for dinner, with the great many variables that exist in day-to-day life, plans are always subject to change and most often they do. In fact, I would be willing to bet money that at some point in your life you had a sizable plan that shifted shape, or had to be rerouted several times before it came into fruition.
When our plans change it can leave us feeling frustrated, robbed, or even guilty for getting ahead of ourselves with excitement in the first place. Ultimately, plans changing are a part of our human existence, and something we will be forced to cope with throughout the entirety of our lives. Practicing dealing with changing plans when it comes to the littler things, perhaps better prepares us to stomach the bigger shifts.
Plans changing doesn’t mean we should never get excited or work toward things, it just means we should strive to separate our excitement for the possibilities from a sense of entitlement, and be willing to reroute when needed. As I deal with my own plans shifting all over the place at the present, I am reminded that this isn’t the first time my plans have changed drastically or dramatically (honestly I could probably write a book on changing plans by now) and it certainly won’t be the last time. Truthfully, I’ve found that many times, the best things in life come out of plans that required some rerouting.
Hopefully whatever plan of yours you find changing this week—life plans, training plans, travel plans, or career plans—may you remember, not only is it okay to reroute your plans, sometimes it is vital. With that, here are a few upsides I have discovered through my own plans changing.
Losses Turned to Gains
As I mentioned in my St. Augustine Half Marathon post, every fall season I seem to have a race plan that just does not happen. For the past three years, I’ve bowed out of half marathons I signed up for. In 2011, I was just starting a new full time job and feeling overloaded. In 2012, it was a personal life crisis. And in 2013, it was sickness, injury and a sudden move home. This time, taking into account my pending move and all that surrounds the transition, I let go of my initial idea to push for a second full marathon this year, and have refocused my efforts on the St. Augustine Half Marathon.
Although at the time I considered each one of these situations a loss based on my circumstances, I later was able to view these times of rerouting as gains that opened the door to something greater each time. In this year’s case, I have been granted the opportunity to run a race I’ve never experienced in a city I’ve quickly come to love.
Increased Level of Patience
Less than a week before the Nashville Country Music Marathon in April, I was up all night coughing incessantly. The part of me that was being swayed by my physical weakness wanted to give up. But I didn’t. I made a decision that I would be okay with waiting and seeing how I felt closer to the race. Just a couple of days before the marathon my cough finally dissipated and I was able to complete my first full marathon without breathing troubles.
In the throes of situations that test our abilites to remain cool and calm, it’s only natural that our patience becomes tested, and even wears thin at times. The more we are able to adapt to the changes around us, the more patience we are able to harbor that we can then transfer over to future changes of plans.
Heightened Sense of Flexibility
Just when I had my bags packed and was ready for my move to St. Augustine last week, my living arrangements fell through and I had to suddenly reroute my plans, yet again. Instead of moving my furniture over, I cancelled the rental van, drove over solo in my Jetta and am once again living out my suitcase. Does this mean my plans are shattered and I’m giving up on moving? No way. What it does mean is I’m learning to be more flexible, and attempting to let things unfold as they may.
Flexibility doesn’t mean leaving things up to chance or just bouncing around like a ping pong ball with no active direction. What it does mean, is accepting the forces that are at play and coming to peace with the elements around you constantly changing, while practicing the art of patience. And in the meantime actively making strides to take hold of the present.
Being forced to reroute our plans gives us perspective that plans are always changing. What I’ve learned through many years (and plenty of tears), is no matter what your struggle is, it all comes back to the ability to let go and trust it.
P.S. It always helps to go for a run and clear your head.
Have you ever been frustrated with things not going as planned? How did you deal with rerouting?