My husband and I are nearing the birth of our first child. As her due date approaches, we have been frantically trying to get everything in order. I have always been a planner. To-do lists and schedules are my best friends and so, as you can imagine, I have tried to plan every last detail down to a T.
Do we have everything that she could possibly need in those first few months? Are all of her clothes washed and organized? And of course, we have been developing a detailed birth plan of how we would like things to go during her delivery.
As a therapist, I oftentimes have clients in my office with some of the same extreme “planner” tendencies to which I am prone. One of the problems with this, though, is the ability to be flexible when things do not go according to plan.
At times my clients will be completely distraught when things do not follow their schedules or when their circumstances do not resemble how they envisioned their lives to go. Oftentimes, this is accompanied by self blame and feeling as if they could have prevented their life from going off course.
Having structure and planning ahead can be a wonderful way to minimize chaos and maintaining organization in our everyday lives. However, we are not fortune tellers. None of us can predict when life may throw us a curve ball and our plans may be completely shattered. When this happens, dwelling on what we could have done differently or asking ourselves “how did I not see this coming” can be a waste of time.
Rather than focusing on past events that we cannot change, it is more beneficial to try to accept what is, learn from it, and adapt. Perhaps the “curve balls” that are thrown our way may lead to something much greater than we had planned for ourselves in the first place.
So as I move forward in preparing for the birth of our daughter, I try to remember that things may not, and probably will not, go according to the plans that I have laid out and that it is completely okay. We are entering the uncharted waters of parenthood and there is no way to predict what might happen. The unknown is part of life is what makes it interesting…and I PLAN to sit back and enjoy the ride.