Friday, April 18, 2008

Expect things to go wrong

I wish I could call myself an optimist, but I don't think I can call myself a pessimist. I am disloyal to both categories, I waffle about my position, and change my argument.

Anyway, it may sound that living by the adage to expect things to go wrong, or to expect things to not go right, is living negatively or pessimistically; but I think it's a good way to cope with the fact that life isn't perfect.

I am one that likes to plan: I make lists of things to do everyday, lists including laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning the toilet, and sending an email I keep putting off. Being able to check them off gives me a sense of completion and satisfaction. So with that in mind, I like things orderly and to go the way I planned. But of course, life never seems to work out that way.

This is true in both major life plans and small, day-to-day events. For instance, I was going to go on a mission, and I got married instead; I was going to go to graduate school, but for now I'm an adjunct professor living in Rexburg; I was going to finish my senior basketball season and enjoy several sports in college, but I tore both my ACLs. Now, although all that seems bad, when I look back, it was meant to be, even if it wasn't in my initial game plan.

Dealing with day-to-day events not going right are oddly harder to cope with sometimes. Like today--I was planning on conducting a telephone interview for an article I'm writing, then going out, doing errands, and swimming. However, my interviewee didn't answer at the appointed time, and then I was left waiting around for the call. Then I get a call telling me he'll call back in half an hour. Now an hour later, I'm writing a blog, not getting my errands done because he might call. Frustrating?

Or sometimes I make plans for a weekend and then find out my husband made other plans; sometimes these plans are even worse than not being mine--they don't include me.

The list can go on. But what bugs me more than all those little misadventures now is that I let them get to me.

Going through big trials and derailments, like my knee surgeries, eventually became this noble thing that was meant to help me grow and find meaning in life. It was hard, but somehow I eventually was ok with it. But those stupid little annoyances don't seem to have a purpose but to make my life miserable.

For the record, my life is not miserable.

Anyway, my goal from now on is to just expect for things to turn out differently than I planned them. (My advice on weddings: "Expect the unexpected" is never truer. My experience: I dropped red lipstick on my skirt! Everyone tried to wipe it off, thinking it was a dropped rose petal. I was devastated, but to my credit, I handled it pretty well. My poor mom though . . . )

So, good luck to us all to find a way to plan and find purpose in our lives while taking the unexpected in stride.


Anonymous said...
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Amy said...

I think knowing that things won't go perfectly and expecting things to go wrong are two different things -- and I think you're an optimist. :)