Plans and How to Break Them

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Facebook’s “On This Day” feature has a way of making you feel like a major idiot sometimes.

This week, I scrolled through my memories and stopped on a text-only Facebook post, made on June 13, 2010.

“Watch out. Me and my 7 year plan are coming through!” 

I literally laughed out loud at myself when I read it. Obviously, exactly 7 years have passed since I created some kind of grand plan. I have no idea what it entailed, but I believe I was enrolled in college at the time and was studying to become a Registered Nurse — what a horrible idea that would have been — even though I really dislike hospitals and healthcare fields in general. Either way, my Plan wasn’t solid enough for me to even remember any key elements.

What’s funny, though, is that I’ve been having anxiety attacks as of late — all centered around the future, how uncertain it is, and if I’m ill-prepared.

See also: the frantic, burning need to make a capital-P Plan.

These days, my worries center around things ranging from finances (will I be financially prepared to send my three kids to college? Am I saving enough for retirement? Can I really afford to send them to daycare all summer while I work?) to the kids and the next ten-plus years of their childhood (what school district will be best for Emma’s specific talents? Is Micah good enough and dedicated enough to make a club baseball team in a year or two? Will Maisy ever listen to my instructions?).

It might be cliche or predictable, but I do attribute a lot of this anxiety to being the widow of a suicide. I was left, abruptly, to care for my family’s future all on my own.

I know this isn’t the right way to process what happened, but I don’t much like to think about how his death has affected me. Andrew was a well-meaning man. I do believe he loved me and the kids, but his mental state made him possessive, controlling, and condescending. So, in a warped way, I attribute my feelings surrounding his death to him still having control over my emotions.

So to keep the grief from turning into resentment, I just shut the grief out.

If you would have told me on June 13, 2010, that in seven years I would be living in Arizona, building my career, and starting a boutique, all while being the sole surviving parent of my three kids, I would have never believed you.

Because that’s the thing about plans.

They change.

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