Saturday, March 19, 2011

The best laid plans...

On Monday of last week we were making plans to head to Paris for two weeks in June, then I was going on to Italy for a workshop. And today less than a week later all of that has imploded. It turns out that Larry may be allergic to the cat in the Paris apartment where we were to stay and Italy, well, that's another story for over a glass of wine, not on my blog.

I'm frustrated and annoyed; it's true. But I also know that this is just one of the rules of travel. Expect the best; prepare for the worst. My father used to say don't worry about something until it happens. A great line I always felt, worthy of Yogi Berra. Or, as a flight attendant recently said, "shift happens."

How many times have I been on my way somewhere when something else happened. A snowstorm, an illness, somebody finking out. There was the baggage handler's strike in Barcelona and the snowstorm up north that left me, heavy sigh, stuck in Key West.

And then there are other things - the people we love, the losses. What we cannot account for in this world. When I was about to start my sabbatical and had a million travel plans, I was worried about - no, obsessed over - the jury duty summons I'd received. What if I got put on a jury? What if it was a long trial? Criminal? Murder? Would I be free in four weeks? Six?

But before I got to go to jury duty to find out, I fell ice skating and broke my leg, hence cancelling all my plans for the next three months and turning my sabbatical into disability. Indeed three months into my injury Larry and I did go to Europe, but armed with wheelchair and crutches as this picture before the Eiffel Tower depicts. I have hobbled away in my "walking" cast (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) to take it.

So why worry about those delays and detours along the road? Things change. Perhaps they cause us anxiety because they make us aware of something we'd prefer not to be aware of. That life is uncertain. We have little control over it. We have little control over anything. So we can bemoan a flight delay, a snowstorm, a sinus infection that keeps us from flying. But in truth there are greater delays and inconveniences ahead.

So, to quote my father again, "roll with the punches." The Buddhists understand that holding on to either the good or the bad just leads to suffering. It is best when we can to let go.

Meanwhile Larry and I are thinking that our holiday might be in Canada - where he's from and where we rarely venture. Or maybe just a staycation, right here where we live, but have so little time to visit because we are so busy making plans for all the things we think we are going to do.


  1. Mary, thanks for these words of wisdom --i am one of those with high anxiety -and this i will read over and over because it made me stop-take a breath and think -- it was a wow moment--thank you birdie

  2. While Milwaukee can be a lovely destination in June, it can't compare to Paris or Italy. So sorry, Mary. I won't even suggest it...

  3. it's so true, that always, always, something comes up. hope that you can rearrange your plans and be happy. find another apt?!

  4. Great post- reminds me of many times I planned something...but something completely different came about - something better :)