Life Lessons – Detours Will Happen

This is the first series of posts I have planned. The second series will be an ongoing one in 2020 (I’ll unveil that later down the road). When I started thinking about this, I got a lot of influence from an interview Taylor Swift gave earlier this year for Elle Magazine. (Yes, I enjoy listening to and reading about Taylor Swift.) Instead of making it a Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL:DR) post, I wanted to break it up and allow not only me to reflect on things, but allow you as the reader to reflect on one singular life lesson instead of being overwhelmed by 30.

Plus, if I do it this way, I can mark the box in my journal that says I blogged. It also helps me keep up with my last goal from my original 30 before 30 list – to keep this blog alive.

So…life lesson # 1:

Plans sometimes don’t go the way you expect….and that’s okay.

When I graduated from Hollins University in 2013, I had a general map of how I wanted my future to go. Come home for the summer, work with my parents, finally get my driver’s license, return to Roanoke, Virginia and (hopefully) continue on my journey to becoming a reporter for the Roanoke Times. You know …. a general map.

Between, July and October of that year, several things came into play that put a halt to that goal completely. My grandpa ended up having a five-bypass heart surgery and completed his first stint in a nursing home. When he came home, it was decided that I would stay with him as an at-home care person. Though, not even 2 days after he came home, it was discovered that I had a brain tumor.  Everything is fine now – I had surgery, went through radiation treatment, and the mass was benign. Six years later and I still have a clean bill of health in that department.

But those two events happened in such closeness to each other threw any and all plans of post-college life out of the window. For the first time, I was left without a map on what was going to happen next. I felt completely lost in that year of recovery, knowing that my friends were moving on with their lives in a way that I feared would never happen for me. It wasn’t until almost two years later in 2015 that I began to find my footing in life again. At that point, my grandfather had gotten too far off with his health that we could not provide the care he needed and he returned to the nursing home. It was shortly after that I found my first permanent job since graduating two years before.

Over the years, I made thought-out plans and goals, sometimes down to the exact time it would happen. When my ex-husband and I moved into our first apartment, I was fired from my job the same day because a disgruntled manager and human resource manager was threatened that I could do a better job at organizing the company better than they could. Though we continued with our plan to live together, we had to improvise for months while I struggled to find a job.

When we got married, I had plans and ideas of starting a family, getting to have my own house, how that house was going to be decorated, you name it. As my marriage played out, I faced the reality that some goals take longer than others to accomplish. Bouncing between jobs for a while put a damper on saving for any kind of down payment, plus the fact that my credit is shot due to hospital bills and student loans, it’s possible I will never get the chance to own a home. Then there’s the now-getting-divorced factor thrown in. Another plan down the drain.

It doesn’t matter if you have every detail planned out, or if you’ve even began to build the foundation of what is probably the greatest idea in your mind. Life is full of unexpected moments. You cannot plan for the unexpected. Even if it seems like everything is come up aces, it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops. It only takes a phone call, doctor’s visit, or unexpected termination meeting at work to uproot everything you know.

And it’s okay. It’s going to suck in that moment. You’re going to be angry, whether it be the situation, the person that’s giving that heartbreaking blow, and possibly yourself. And you’re allowed to feel those emotions. Just don’t fixate on them. Over time, things will get better. You’ll find a better job, you’ll get the medical help you need, and you’ll find the right person to build that foundation again.

Who knows, it may lead to something better than your original goal.

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