Turning my “Plan B” into “Plan A”
Letting go and enjoying the journey
I recently caught up with a long-time acquaintance of mine. Almost immediately he asked how my dating life was going. I replied that I had dated quite a bit over the last few years and nothing seemed to stick, but that I was okay with that. “Things will work out,” I said, then started sharing my career goals.
“It’s good to have a ‘Plan B,’” he kindly replied, referring to my career goals — but I was quick to respond, “No, this is my Plan A now.”
It felt like the perfect way to define the shift I had made in my thinking over the last few years, and how I now choose to focus more on the journey than the outcome.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother. It’s what I saw the women around me doing: my mom, my cousins, the young women at church. I saw a pattern: go to college, get married, and then graduate and grow a family — in that order. I saw it, I valued it, and I wanted it. I still do.
But a few years ago, I graduated, and I was not married.
I dated, but nothing progressed to marriage.
I worked different jobs through my 20’s but still didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my time. The jobs I held weren’t monetarily lucrative — I had no idea what I was worth as an employee. I had never thought about how much money it would take to care for myself, how to plan a career, or anything of the sort. I honestly thought I’d be raising kids full time pretty quickly after college, and the alternative never even crossed my mind.
It took until I was about 28-years-old for the switch to finally flip — for me to finally realize that I had power and potential in this whole other area of life that I had not previously considered, and for me to finally start seriously planning my career. Embracing this new path was life changing.
I’m not saying that I’ve abandoned my long held hopes and dreams — I want a husband and children more than I can even say — but I can’t control when I’ll get those (aside from continuing to date and develop relationships, but everything else takes two). Embracing the alternative — my career and personal self-reliance — as my “Plan A” is far more effective for me than viewing it as my “Plan B.” It means I care about it, I’m committed to it, and I’m invested in it. And let me tell you, the satisfaction I feel contributing to my workplace, learning new skills, and furthering my education in my field of choice is bar none.
To me, the “Plan” is more about the journey I choose to embrace. Switching my “Plan B” to “Plan A” allows me to be more accountable and active in my current circumstances, instead of simply a passive participant waiting for the pieces to fall into place. I’m showing up for life, wherever it may take me. Embracing the season I’m in has made all the difference, and I’m guessing I’ll be even more grateful and prepared for whatever season comes next.
Mentally switching over to your “Plan B” can be really tough, especially when you’ve held onto your original “Plan A” for a long time. You may have not even identified a “Plan B” yet. An easier option initially may be to begin focusing on things that you can control (the journey) instead of what you often can’t (the outcome, or the timing of the outcome). This can include developing healthy habits such as getting to bed earlier, drinking more water, or getting outside each day. It could include pursuing a new hobby or interest. You could also choose to focus on an educational or professional goal — or sub-goals within those goals, such as completing assignments, projects, or semesters. As you begin filling your time with new, meaningful pursuits, your journey can begin to unfold in new, meaningful ways.