When the plan changes

I am not the kind of girl who has a 5 year plan, neither am I the one who hoped she’d get married by a certain age or have kids by the time I was 30, peak in my career at 35 etc… However, someone did tell me a statistic that we hit our physical peak in our 40s (but then crushed my dreams that somewhere in me was a marathon runner by qualifying her stat with ‘I think its about men’). Truly gutted! Obviously, I could just work my arse off and then I could probably at least manage a half marathon in my future. I am just not sure if I want to.

So this time a month ago I thought it was pretty much a done deal that I would be heading back into youth work-which made me both excited but also slightly nervous at how this would all work out now I have a small one. I was attaching other plans to the belief that employment was looming. Some of them serious; childcare, replacing my husbands’ dying computer, being excited about strategy and developing something and freeing up my husband financially to dream again too. But also some slightly ridiculous ideas; if I was a working mum does that mean we were more organised, and ‘adulting’ better and therefore we would take the inevitable next step and get a cat? Would a childminder/nursery ensure proper footprint/handprint cards were made for fathers/mothers day…because that’d be really helpful because I just can’t do them-I don’t think a indistinguishable purple sparkly mark on a card really says ‘I love you Daddy’ in a personal way?!

As I am sure you have worked out by now, I didn’t get the job and in quite a clear, unforeseen way. I was a bit thrown by it all…and also just unsure what I should do-everything dreams and decisions were thrown up in the air, and I am left wondering which bit I should be trying to find first. A bit like a crap crystal dome, but except for gold and silver tokens its just my fears, disappointments, hopes and pet ideals! And you almost don’t want to go for anything because you don’t want to pick up the shit things by accident. You know you were aiming to focus on building your confidence in job situations but instead you end up grabbing guilt over crap parenting and too much screen time.

Anyway I listened to a bloomin good preach by Jo Dolby-who is an absolute legend and it was entitled ‘When the plan changes’ (yup I stole it). It was based on Jonah 4 and how we can struggle when things don’t take the logical path we plan in our minds. She read out the following poem:

For you:

For the highs and lows

and moments between,

mountains and valleys,

rivers and streams,

for where you are now

and where you will go,

for “I’ve always known,”

and “I told you so,”

for “nothing is happening,”

and “all has gone wrong,”

its all in this journey

you will learn to be strong.

And to get where you are headed,

you are where you belong.

Morgan Harper Nichols

And I think there are lots of us inhabiting this space of ‘this isn’t where I thought I’d be’ but maybe it is the place of ‘where we are meant to be’. And that throws up lots of questions doesn’t it? Questions about expectations and identity, of what success is and who decides? And where do we go from here? This isn’t what I thought was happening, and in my case ‘I thought God was opening a door here, and if that not the case (and it isn’t) what is actually blooming going on?

In many respects the next step is fairly clear to me I still need to get a job-but right now I want to engage with my present situation and who that is shaping me to be. Who am I if I am not employed? I get embarrassed telling people I still haven’t found a job, I feel ashamed that I can’t seem to shrug this status off, and I find it hard to own being a ‘stay at home mum’ because I didn’t necessarily choose it or plan for it. But that exposes some serious insecurities and assumptions I have and should probably let go off.

Also I always have my back up plan; writing rude words on stationery (I appreciate that every Year 7 child has probably done this but not with my style and finesse!!)

Massive love goes out to the friends who have recently found their lives turned upside down; jobs finishing, relationships ending and things not coming to fruition like they thought they would.

Here’s to the resolving, reevaluating and the rebuilding.

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