When your life looks different than you thought it would look, what do you do? Maybe you are one of the lucky few for whom your life looks better than you ever could have imagined, and for that, you are so thankful. I hope that you all are in that category, but in reality, most of us fit into the category where one or more aspects of our life aren’t quite how we expected. Maybe you aren’t in the place you expected geographically, financially, professionally, personally, or otherwise. Put me down for a big fat “yes” to at least a couple of those.
Some folks are better at redirecting their goals and mindset than others, and I would like to think of myself as being amongst this set. I have a handful of friends who I refer to as “The Planners.” One of said friends was dead set on meeting the love of her life by age 22, being engaged by 23, and married by 24. The first baby would arrive by the time she was 26 and the second 2 years later. She would be a stay-at-home-mom and have a photography business on the side when time allowed. As I’m sure you have already guessed, life had other plans that didn’t coincide with her strict timeline. Resilience is not her strong suit. When things didn’t go as planned, she felt like her life was an aimless waste.
Maybe I am afraid of disappointing myself by setting life goals like this, because I am certain that disappointment would ensue. In fact, I make personal practice of not setting timeline expectations for major life events. Don’t get me wrong, I am a goal setter when it comes to other things but not with regards to things that I have no control over. I was certainly not looking for “Mr. Right” when my now-husband waltzed into the picture, but, of course, I am so glad he did.
So my non-planning self thought the international adoption process would be a breeze. Do some paperwork. Do some waiting. And eventually a stork drops a child on your door step… Or something like that.
In reality, adoption should come with a disclaimer that reads “Planners need not apply,” but “Organized, redundant-paperwork loving people, sign here.” If you fall into the former category, the process will drive you insane. Although every ounce of my brain knows this, my heart has gotten the best of me. With this adoption process, I find myself breaking my timeline expectation rules left and right.
If there is one thing I have learned throughout this process, it is that there are very few things in the world that I have less control over than the timing of an international adoption. And yet, I find myself saying things like, “Next summer, when our kid is here….” Two years ago, I was certain that by the following Christmas we would be a family of 3. As we approach yet another holiday season, there is still no child in our midst. Pre-conceived notions be damned.
There are only so many preparations I can make for a hypothetical, unknown child before I start walking a fine-line of crazy. Thumb twiddling and smiling while friends become parents and in some cases, become parents again only gets a girl so far! I never realized how crippling not being able to plan would feel. Vacations? On hold, due our hoarding of paid vacation time like squirrels in the winter. Move? And re-do our home study; are you insane?!
Am I whining about a completely first world problem? Yes, absolutely! But to all you planners out there, I get it! Pushing the pause button on your life over something you have desired or worked towards is really hard. Letting so much of life pass us by while we wait – especially when we don’t know when we get to hit “resume.” Life doesn’t always happen on our time table and trusting that life happen when it is supposed to is even harder. Promotions, job changes, moves, marriages, relationships, kids, etc….All can be major life-changing events and learning to be content with the status-quo until they occur is hard – even for us so-called non-planners.
Just don’t let life pass you by while you wait for whatever it is to occur…