What do you do when your plans change?

Hey there!

I’m about one of the most planned and prepared (doesn’t fly by the seat of my pants) person there ever was. I have 5 calendars, and see, you may think that’s excessive, but I humbly disagree. Let me explain.

  1. Desk Calendar – This keeps my work appointments. It’s the calendar that I keep at my office, so that I don’t have to whip out my phone in front of a student to book our next meeting.
  2. Purse Calendar – This is basically my back up calendar in case my phone explodes one day. It contains everything from that vacation in planning next year to the doctors appointment I have tomorrow.
  3. The Handy iPhone Calendar – This also has everything, but it’s at the touch of a button, and since I’m the only millennial that doesn’t totally trust technology, I have 4 others for back up.
  4. The Google Calendar – Would LOVE it if this synced with my Apple Calendar, but technology hates me, so. I have multiple Google Calendars for different work projects and friend groups. Don’t ask, it’s a lot. My mom and I even operate via Google Calendar.
  5. The Fridge Calendar – This is a week-at-a-glance for the Hubs and I so that we don’t double book on each other. It’s also how we know if we’re taking 2 cars to work or riding together.

The thing about these 5 calendars is that they are all 100% in sync. They all say the exact same thing, and when 1 plan changes, I have to update all 5 of them. That’s the flaw, but then there’s the mental calendar which is assisted greatly by repetition, so there’s that too.

Anyways, when plans change…

This post isn’t really addressing the things you write in a calendar. I want to talk about the plans that you don’t usually pencil in. Like when you planned to start some massive Fortune 500 company but then life got in the way and changed those plans. Or when you planned to live next door to your bestie and let your kids grow up together being 3rd generation besties, but you moved and changed plans for the both of you. Or when you were halfway through a degree in college but fell in love with your roommates degree plan, so you switched, changing virtually everything you had ever planned for career-wise.

These are the plans that you don’t plan on changing. BUT these are the plans that make your life, different.

These are the plans that don’t get crossed out or penciled in. They are the ones that you don’t have to write down, because you’re not going to forget about them. You don’t need a little reminder update in all 5 of your calendars because it’s all up here (I’m tapping my head).

Now that you have a relatively good idea of how much I like to plan things out, you can probably assume that I don’t handle change that well. It’s true. That’s one of my greatest struggles. I’m go with the flow on the little things, but massive, major life changes throw me into a series of anxiety attacks and a string of sleepless nights.

Here’s a little reflection on my track record:

  • High School – It’s Senior year, I’ve gone through the 5,000 options I could major in for college, and finally after blood, sweat, and tears, I’ve decided on attending ECU, living off campus, and majoring in Physical Therapy. About a month before moving in, I completely changed everything. Like a few weeks before college started, yep… after ALL deadlines were passed. I switch to Liberty, in a different state, with a different major, and a dorm on campus.
  • College – Remember that major I had decided on? Yeah, changed that one about 8 times before deciding to triple major… because apparently choices are also hard for me. I used to tell my dad I just wanted the best value for the $$ haha
  • Life – I changed my wedding date about 3 times (publicly) before deciding officially. In the last 5 years, I’ve moved 3 times, to a different country, 3 different cities, and I’m about to pack my bags and move again. I’ve danced between citizenships, and carried multiple immigration visas.

All of this say, Change is a thing I am very familiar with. However, it’s still not a thing I’m very comfortable with. So, back to the initial question that started this blogpost – What do you do when your plans change?

Here are some of the things I have learned to do, and they don’t make change perfect. But they make change a little easier.

  1. Allow yourself time – Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to freak out, to step back, to figure things out, and to understand that the change you are experience might be a good thing.
  2. Write your narrative – Decide for yourself what you think about this new change. Don’t rely on other people to tell you what you think and what you want. Also, don’t automatically want something else just because you were told you wanted the opposite. Don’t be stubborn.
  3. Be honest with those involved – If your change involves other people, let hem know about your reservations. Tell them when you need a moment, and be completely honest if it’s a change that you just cannot make.
  4. Pray – like a lot. Sometimes, prayer is the only way I can understand changes in my life. It keeps me grounded and balanced as I navigate really uncertain changes in my life.
  5. Be optimistic – This one, even for the peppy cheerleader types, can be difficult. But your attitude determines your altitude. So if you have a bad attitude from the start, you are only making things worse for yourself and everyone around you. Try to be optimistic, and when you run out of positive vibes, take a step back to refuel.

I’m writing this post in the midst of a few major life changes myself, so trust me when I say, I know this isn’t easy. I’m living it. My career, my address, my city, my proximity to a normal and comfortable life is all changing in the next couple of weeks. The routine and security of a planned out life in my little loft in Etobicoke is about to be a thing of the past. My commute to everywhere I’ve been in the last 4 years is about to be a very different drive, and while I’m excited to see what the future holds, the little voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me of all that I’m going to lose when I make this transition. So I have to choose, regularly, to allow the voice in my heart to be louder than that voice in the back of my head. The voice in my heart is telling me that this new city holds incredible potential. It holds the opportunities I’ve been dreaming of for years. It holds a future for me and my husband, and it holds a place for me to raise my future kids. That’s the voice I’m clinging to as I go through change, and I pray that your inner voice (the heart voice) is louder than the one that is trying to hold you back.

– the Wife

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