When Life Forces You To Let Go Of Your Plan


I’m pretty sure when E. M. Forster wrote about letting go of our planned life, he was thinking about the big picture — those ideas we have when we are kids about marriage, children, and career, where we’re going to live, who we’re going to be. I’ve had to do that in the past. Getting a divorce is a real lesson in letting go of what you thought your life would look like.

This week, however, I’m facing this issue on a different level. Over the weekend, my husband had an emergency appendectomy. We spent all of Sunday in medical facilities, which was certainly not how we had planned on spending the day, and the week has continued to not meet up to my expectations. While Kurt is taking good care of himself and has been free of complications, his recovery is slow. When he isn’t asleep, he’s bored and anxious to get back on his feet.

What I hadn’t anticipated was how much his operation was going to affect me. I feel like my week has been dropped on its head. I can’t focus and have been unable to do my work. I’ve canceled and postponed appointments and put off any chore that can wait. I’ve barely written, been unable to try any of the simple exercises from this week’s drawing class, or to make progress on my challenge quilt for this summer’s show.

I don’t understand why I am feeling so discombobulated. Kurt’s fine and on the mend. I have a few extra things to deal with because he isn’t able to do the things he normally does, but it’s not that much more than I normally do. Is it the knowledge that my father-in-law is now in hospice and won’t be with us much longer? Or is it the insomnia that is keeping me up most nights? Or all of these things combined?

While I want to know why I can’t seem to get back into my routine, what I’d like even more is just to be back in my routine. I have a plan for my days that I am unable to follow right now, and that’s frustrating me. Forcing things isn’t working. I’m too tired to push through. So I’m going to follow Forster’s advice and let go in the hopes that things will right themselves, and we’ll back to a more normal schedule soon.

Are you a planner? Do you have trouble letting go when the unexpected happens?

10 thoughts on “When Life Forces You To Let Go Of Your Plan”

    1. Going slow can be challenging. Especially when there are deadlines on the horizon. I guess the message for me is “relax”.

  1. I know when my husband is sick or injured it hurts me more than him. I think it’s because we rely on and trust our partners so much that when something happens to them it shakes our foundation, on top of the worry about their health. And when other stressors are added (so sorry to hear about your father-in-law), processing everything and updating your plans becomes that much harder. Like John Lennon said, life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Anyway, I hope things start getting back to a smooth routine for you. 2016 is off to a helluva start, isn’t it?

    1. You make an excellent point. When the people we rely on are in trouble, we’re in trouble. Fortunately, he is healing, it’s just slow.

      As for 2016: I’m about to declare it defective and ask for a refund.

      1. Maybe 2016 is like March–in like a lion, out like a lamb. Good days are coming.

  2. I think having a schedule planned helps me focus. I follow it loosely and adapt it to my changing needs, but sometimes I just need to listen to the music… then I go back to my schedule. I’m sure things will improve and you’ll recover your rhythm 💖

    1. You’ve really put your finger on it. Losing my routine, my daily rhythm, is a big part of this. Still trying to figure out if I need to just develop a new pattern or if it’s not yet time to return to “normal”. One day at a time for a while yet. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. At least for me, a routine is like a security blanket. I am a very orderly person and having things planned means all is well and working as it should. When that all gets chucked out the window by circumstance it makes everything unsteady and unsure. It doesn’t have to be big life events. No one is happier than me when the kids are off school for summer but after a while we all crave the routine and stability ‘normal’ life gives us. Hope you are back to normal soon.

    1. I love routine, except when I’m in it and stupid enough to think it’s boring and needs to change. I’ve been known to intentionally chuck my routine out of boredom, and I always regret it. Maybe one of these days I’ll remember before I make the bad choice.

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