Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Are Not The Center Of The Universe - Or "Best Laid Plans"

"The Best Laid Plans..." That phrase sounds like the introduction to a horror flick.  It is something the narrator would say right before he is trapped in a stalled car in the middle of the forest during a rain storm and mud slide.

For the last two weeks I have had some "best laid plans."  If you remember back to around Thanksgiving time I was researching a washer and dryer.  We finally found one we liked and decided to take advantage of a sale.  We purchased the units and scheduled a delivery date.  Here is where you add the ominous music and the voice over states, "Laura was excited to get her new appliances, and could hardly wait to wash her first load...the installation guys were scheduled, the laundry room was cleaned out...but the best laid plans..."

You may ask what went wrong.  I would answer with, "What didn't go wrong?" We have had 3 washers delivered and the second dryer will be installed this Friday...we hope.

This little experience has started me wondering about plans and why we make them.  Remember I am the Planning Queen, but really, why in the world do I attempt to plan things for which I have no control?

The trick is we think we have control over much more than we do.  The universe has a nasty little habit of reminding us we are all small gnats to swat around the cosmos.  I had control over the date the washer and dryer were delivered but I had no control over the damage, or the late delivery on the replacement, or the damage to the replacement, or the fact that the dryer is defective...you get the picture.

It is a hard lesson to learn, that we are not in charge of the universe.  While it seems obvious, I mean no one really thinks they are in charge of the universe, it is a lesson few have learned.  If you doubt me, think about the people who yell and scream at the ticket counter in the airport when their flight is weather delayed.  The lady at the counter didn't do it to you, but you are still angry that the earth needed moisture and disrupted your plans!!!

I see people mad at traffic because they are going slower than they planned.  I see agitated people in the grocery store line.  I see distraught parents whose children haven't won the big game.  I see angry faces when an election goes the other way.  You get the idea...

I am hoping I have convinced you that you are not the center of the universe and that no one is required to do things your way.  (Trust me when I tell you I am trying to audition for "Master of the Universe" but so far I haven't got in touch with the casting director.)  If we believe this fact to be true we need to look at why we get so mad when things don't go our way.

At this time we are back to plans.  I heard a great quote once. "Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans." And as a culture we get angry when our plans don't work out as expected.

My suggestion? Let it go.  (To all of the friends and family who just hit the floor laughing I say this...I am working on it.)  I have spent a lot of time being upset about foiled plans.  After many hours on angst I have determined there was no point.

Am I asking you to stop planning?  Absolutely not.  I am telling you to plan it out, make arrangements to make it the best possible and be okay with what happens.  You may not like it, you may need to fix it, but expend your energy on what is next, not what you can't change.

So now I am waiting for my dryer to be replaced, and I am excited to tell you I only have 4 more days to go.  I am optimistic I will get an appliance which works, but if not, we will try again.  Eventually I will either have a working dryer or a news clothes line in my yard.  Either way my clothes will be dry.  Here's hoping I get the dryer because I really like it when my best laid plans work out.

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