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(Where the hellâ€™s my sanity? I know I put it here somewhere . . .)
Iâ€™m blogging today to talk to you about a dirty little word that begins with â€œM.â€ Thatâ€™s right . . . messy. You may have noticed by now, but life is messy. It doesnï¿½t go in neat, ordered little rows the way we want. If life were a garden, it would not be a topiary. It would be more like a jungleï¿½wild and unfettered!
Messiness Versus The Plan
When I was younger (many eons ago) I was wound so tightly you couldnï¿½t pull a pin out of my tush with a tractor. I had to know what I was going to do every minute of every day so that I could follow The Plan.
A close relative of mine thought life had to be lived according to The Plan, as if inconvenience and do-overs were forbidden. If even the slightest thing didnï¿½t go according The Plan, it was The Worst Thing Ever. This applied to road detours the same way it did unexpected pregnancies. That was his level of reaction.
It took me years to learn things did not have to be this way. They could go Not According to The Plan and still turn out all rightï¿½even fun. Like puttering around in an unorganized garden, or a wild jungle.
Messiness for the win
Itï¿½s understandable that we get annoyed when things do not go According to The Plan. A doctorï¿½s visit makes us run late (heaven forfend the doctor should be on time). Our flight gets delayed. Our baby throws up on us more than usual. Anyone would get aggravated at these.
But itï¿½s okay to see re-arrangement of thingsï¿½the correcting of mistakesï¿½as the norm rather than the exception. You reschedule the doctorï¿½s appointment. You take another flight. You change your shirt during mealtimeï¿½again.
Today, if I have to re-arrange something, itï¿½s no big deal. Of course, part of this is due to the fact I no longer work a 9-5 schedule. I donï¿½t have to worry about cramming errands into my thirty minute lunch ï¿½hour,ï¿½ or hoarding vacation days like Ebenezer Scrooge did his gold.
This leaves plenty of time for messiness and mistakes to happen (often in the same day). It gives me a messiness ï¿½cushion,ï¿½ if you will. And that was a conscious decision. Originally, I took an enormous cut in both pay and job security in order to seat myself on that cushion. I didnï¿½t have any dependents, so to me, the cushion was worth it.
Is a lifetime of messiness for you?
I donï¿½t mean to imply that quitting your day job is the best solution for everyone. To some, it would create more problems than it would solve. But there are other ways to build messiness cushions into your day.
The advice is nothing new: stop setting high expectations, or overscheduling yourself. Determine what you can reasonably accomplish in a dayï¿½then subtract a few things. Say no (if you can) to tasks that would make you miserable or that you donâ€™t have time forâ€“without feeling guilty.
It may seem like youï¿½re getting less done, but if you factor in messiness, you probably werenï¿½t getting everything on The Plan (or The List) done anyway. Messiness was creeping in. The only thing The Plan did was make you crazy when you couldnï¿½t follow it to the letter.
Which, if you look closely enough, had a hidden capital ï¿½M.ï¿½ For ï¿½Messy.ï¿½ï¿½
P.S. They say â€œlife is what happens when youâ€™re busy making other plans. So the gift of messiness can be applied not only to one day, or your to-do list, but to an entire lifetime. Often, you can be surprised at the good things that happen despite major derailments.
What were some of the best, most unexpected, messiest things that happened to you? Tell me in the comments!
(Top image: aliwest44)