When Life Happens

Life happens.  This is one of those everlasting truths.  We can set goals, and set about getting things done in a timely manner, but the reality is that life will interrupt us, more pressing matters will appear, and things will not go according to plan.

I learned this early on.  I can’t think of a single family trip that didn’t include some sort of unexpected surprise.  Car break-downs, flat tires, sick siblings…

The thing is, though we never anticipated those things (and perhaps found them to be a pain or headache at the time) the result was some amazing memories.  I asked a few of my siblings, and my mom, which of these planned-trips-gone-wrong were their favorite.

From camping trips where homeless people came from the hills to try to steal beer from our car (awakening my older brother when they managed to get the keys to unlock the van, and probably giving themselves a bit of a scare), to being stranded in the Black Hills while pretty much everything that seemed like it could go wrong did go wrong.

It was no fun to go through that time, but now we look back and laugh at the story.  Over lunch with my older brother the other day we reminisced on many such adventures, these experiences that shaped our childhoods.

Those adventures, never going quite the way we had planned, helped me to realize that life is what happens around the plans.  It is noble to create goals, to set up plans, and to work hard to achieve those goals, but the reality is going to end up being something different.  Inevitably something will come along which will throw all those plans away and you will have to make do with what you have.  You have to change your goals to account for the life that is happening.  It’s important to keep yourself open to go with the flow, and to know that how you come through the unexpected is what will shape the story that you end up telling down the road.

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12 thoughts on “When Life Happens”

    1. Totally! I don’t have any kids myself, but have worked with them enough, and have enough friends with them, that I know just how crazy things can get! Never know what kind of curve-ball they’ll throw into the mix!

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  1. everything that happens is not a random event, or bad luck, or some thing or someones elses fault, nothing happens by way of chance. Rather, everything happens for a reason, a purpose, and is the result of law of attraction of energies mostly not yet aware of. This may bring to light the folly in expectations that may go with goal setting. Maybe the moral of the story is, by all means have future objectives, yet not let attention be consumed with expectations. In other words not to overly project attention away from the now moment and into the future, because what else is the future but another nw moment. My suggestion is to bring attention back to here and now, with knowing that any future now will take care of itself when the time arrives. The result of this , is a way of being where at any point in time one is doing what is meant to be, and less and less needs to make plans or goals, and the less attraction of unexpected things. I know this may sound absurd to many, but works a treat for me. True peace of mind….. .. .

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    1. I’m am glad you have found an approach that works for you.
      I would argue that there are certainly things that happen randomly, unexpectedly (and none of these necessarily are “someone else’s fault” either). I do hold that positive thought can bring positive things, but feel it is far more complex than most understand, and that there are some things which cannot be predicted. And regardless of what you send out to the world, bad things will happen, negativity exists. Also, not all of the “life” that happens is necessarily bad — but it still can alter and change the plans and intentions you have with your days, weeks, months, etc.
      For me, setting goals and deadlines is an important part of my ability to stay mentally healthy. Without them I run into some real problems and trouble. Additionally, those goals help drive me to achieve the things I want to do in my life — otherwise I spend time adrift, going from interest to interest, thing to thing, with no real focus. What I feel is important was the ability to roll with the punches, to alter plans as needed, and to know that things will not always go as planned. I don’t see the setting of goals as interfering with the ability to be in the moment and paying attention to the now.
      But, everyone will have their own approach that works best for them, and what works for me certainly will not work for everyone. I am glad that living in the moment, focusing on the now, and approaching life in that way is working for you.

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    1. Indeed! I have an app on my phone now that’s helped me look back over just the past few years of life, and there are so many things that have happened unexpectedly that have resulted in good things (some are still sad events, but I am able to look at some of the good around them at least).

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