Monday, August 27, 2012

Changing Gears


The best laid plans sometimes need to be amended.  You plan on taking the bus, but you’re running behind, so you have to grab a cab.  You plan on paying cash for a large purchase, but you don’t have enough “change” to cover the sales tax, so you put it on your card.  You order the sushi special, but it’s sold out, so you settle for a California Roll.  No brainers, right?

Even though I pride myself on my ability to roll with the punches of most situations, the reality is that it’s really hard to change courses on the fly sometimes.  I do well through the decision-making part, as I’m a doer….when things need to get done, I do them.  But then I inevitability immediately mourn the change of plans afterwards.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

The entire cab ride is spent silently lamenting the fact that I’m wasting money on a nausea-inducing cab ride all because I decided to flat-iron my hair at the last minute.  The second the debit card is swiped at Target, I kick myself for not grabbing the two extra $20’s that were sitting on the table, as now I’m going to have to make two more stops at home and the bank to even up the accounts.  I have buyer’s remorse the second the waiter leaves the table, as I ALWAYS order the California roll.  Can’t I possibly come up with something I’ve never tried before?

Over the years I’ve gotten better at hiding my agitation at last-minute changes.  I still complain in my head, but I try not to talk about it out loud.  I think if I don’t talk about my compulsive thoughts, they don’t really exist.  They do exist, though, and my face always is a dead giveaway.  The people who know me well can see the wheels turning every time I suddenly alter a plan.  The saving grace is that the pace of our lives is so swift that I don’t have time to linger on the duress because I’m forced to immediately move on to the next topic or decision that’s thrown my way.

Stacy Snyder - ParentUnplugged - Changing Gears - Change Is Hard

Over the weekend, I asked my eldest daughter to take a run with me.  I was desperate for some exercise to clear my head and I knew her mood could use a reboot as well.  She unenthusiastically suited up in her pink running shirt and patterned shorts and moodily met me at the door.  Before we had a chance to lace up our shoes, her friend came to the door to get her bike that was left at our house the day before.  The friend was swimsuit-clad and ready to ride her bike to the neighboring block party we planned on attending later in the day.  Knowing my daughter’s spirit was more likely to be lifted from the waterslide than with our jog and balancing that against my selfish yearning for a few minutes to myself void of conflict with my nine-year-old, I changed gears.  The running clothing was donned for a swimsuit and the bikes were brought out of the garage to the front.  My daughter went on to the party with her friend and I grabbed my music for my solo exercise session.

Not two seconds after the front door shut, I started bullying myself over the change of plans:  my child needed the exercise and it would have set the tone for her day; I gave up the cherished one-on-one time with my child in exchange for some solitude; there’s no need to go to the block party this early in the morning; who’s going to watch her while I’m not there?

I took my grief on the road and headed to the kitchen, where my girlfriend took one look at me and without even asking what I was thinking, said, “Get over it and go on your run!”

I wanted so badly to review the negative implications of the modified schedule with her, but she shooed me out the door, where my anxiety melted away with the first pop lyric that screamed out of my ear buds:  I think I’ve finally had enough, I think I maybe think too much…my head is spinning so blow me one last kiss.  P!nk always says just the right think at the just the right time!

Here’s the gig:  with life coming at us so fast, our maps inevitably change at a moment’s notice.  We can plan and prepare and primp for what we think will happen in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but ultimately we never know exactly how things will pan out.  The only thing we can be certain of is that things will change.  If you can roll with change, you’re as prepared for life as you can be.