Best-laid plans

I'm a planner. Always have been. I come by it naturally...just ask my mom. (We're a lot alike in that way - my mom & me.) In some ways it's served me well - for example, I've pretty much always had my bills in on time, I've been ready for exams when they came my way, & I've planned singles parties with the best of them (& had a great time doing so).

The plans...
This morning, I was thinking about the plans I made as a teenager. I was going to be thin, athletic & beautiful one day. I would grow up to be an editor, a doctor or a famous jazz singer. I would dazzle my professors at college, graduate, and then serve an honorable mission, converting many lost souls. I would come home, marry at 24, have 4 or 5 children, and then go back to work when the littlest began elementary school. All the meanwhile, I'd be an awesome scrapbooker, singer, pianist, sewer, baker, runner & all-around spiritual-yet-funny woman, who could relate to anyone. (Does this sound like a big goal? Slightly unrealistic, perhaps? You bet.)

The Reality...
In reality, my life has turned out so very different from what I planned. I struggled with my weight during high school & into the college years. I still - and perhaps always will - have a difficult time with body image in general (although what woman doesn't?). I have fought with depression on and off during my life. I did not serve a mission - no matter how much I prayed, it never seemed right. The answer was always no. I didn't dazzle my professors, but I did my best & graduated from both college & graduate school. I majored in English Education - a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) backup plan to editing or medical school (although I'm still looking for a good jazz vocalist gig). However, teaching middle school English was not for me in my mid-twenties, so even that backup plan went off-course. And hobbies? I am a mediocre scrapbooker, pianist & singer at best; I loathe running & I don't sew. (I do love baking, though.)

As for the marriage bit - well, getting married is still a surprise to me. After it was obvious that my plan to get married by 24 was not going to happen, I planned on being single for life. (It's not that I was downplaying my options, but it always seemed I was destined to go on one or two dates & that was it. Or I was the perpetual buddy/sidekick.) I stayed in the singles ward for 5+ years & finally decided enough was enough. I needed a change. It wasn't until I started attending a different ward & looked for opportunities to just befriend people that I met Jared & we became friends, then fell in love. (He wasn't even what I had pictured - he was quiet & young. I had planned on an older, extremely extroverted husband.) And sometimes I fear that I am too old to be starting a family - at least the big family I once planned on. I worry about potential problems & how I wanted a family of 5 & I'm already nearly 29, and not ready just yet.

The point is, my life has turned out so differently than what I had planned. And I'm thankful for that. Heavenly Father obviously knows me well and knew what was best for me at certain points in my life. While I'm sure I'd still be an okay person if all of my best-laid plans had come true, I have learned & gained so much from the experiences I've had. I've learned that the singles are an incredible force to be reckoned with. I truly love that group of people & am fiercely loyal to them. I've learned to sympathize with others who have weight problems. (It's always a struggle.) I've learned - truly - that beauty is more about friendship & laughter & what's inside a person than the outside appearance. (If anyone knows & understands that, I certainly do.) I've learned that in my darkest hours, which sometimes still appear, that Heavenly Father is there, waiting to listen. And more than anything, that the Savior truly lived & died & lives again - for me.

I've learned that you can roll with the punches, no matter what deck of cards life hands you, because of the foundation of the Gospel - and the peace it can bring you. I've learned that family & close friends are the true spice of life & make waking up each morning worth it. I've learned that there is much to be learned from each job, each success, each failure & each person that come into your life. And I've learned that the best love I found in this life began with an open, honest, & close friendship.

I thought my life would be good, when, in fact, it's so much better than I ever planned.

I am thankful, this morning, that my best-laid plans went awry.

1 comment:

G Sauce said...

Oh but you have:

Thin - You are
Athletic - You hike
Beautiful - Hello how about gorgeous!
Editor - You did when you worked at VA Realtors
Doctor - of love!
Jazz Singer - Still time for that
Dazzle Professors - You probably did you just didn't realize it.
Graduate - You did
Mission - You and Jared can do one later
Marry @ 24 - You weren't far off
4 or 5 children - Still time for that (my mom was 40 when Brit was born)
Back to Work when the kiddies are in school - Still time for that
Awesome Scrapbooker - one word for you "software"
Awesome Singer - You are
Awesome Pianist - You are
Awesome Sewer - You can borrow my machine - New project
Awesome Baker - You are (banana bread - yum)
Awesome Runner - There is still time but you could still hate it too
All- Around Spiritual-yet-funny woman - HELLO YOU ARE SO THAT PERSON!!! At least to me you are.