What Happens When Nothing In Your Life Goes As You Planned It To?

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It is mid afternoon in Los Angeles and I am staring out the window at familiar blue skies and thinking about life. Got a desk with more clutter than I like and papers piled at my feet.

They are part of a file I am using for a work project and in a short time will be returned to the manila folders in which they live. Drank too much coffee and have tried to compensate by drowning it in water.

There are weights behind me and assorted other pieces of gym equipment that are calling out to me. I have shushed them more than once, promised that I will make use of them…soon. Can’t do it now, want to, but can’t. The moment I get up from the desk and get the blood pumping will be a good moment, necessary. But I require a longer workout today and I can’t devote the time yet. That doesn’t mean that I am not going to follow through because I will and it will happen today.

Right now I have but 15 minutes to spare, if that.  Fifteen minutes that I am using here to try and clear my head of a million different thoughts, ideas and memories.

Dude, I Am Getting Divorced

We’re seated at Nat’s Early Bite, one of our favorite hole in the wall diners and I am listening to Mark tell me about the end of his marriage. It is not really a surprise and I don’t want to tell him that we never liked his wife.

“Dude, I am getting divorced.”  I keep a blank expression on my face and just listen. Mark doesn’t speak like this, dude isn’t part of his everyday vernacular. He is not an intellectual snob nor does he sound like the caricature of the “Harvarhd Man” but dude isn’t something that I normally hear him say.

“It is a funny thing, because you never know if last night, this afternoon or this morning is going to mark the last time you sleep with your wife.” I nod my head at him and he continues. “Actually, the last time was probably among the best we ever had. I think it was because we both knew it was over and it was just a big relief.”

“Well the good news is that you are young and you live in a place where the women are plentiful. Liz Taylor isn’t dead yet, if you work hard you could be number 9 or is it ten.”

The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of our food. In between bites I follow up with ideas for other women he can marry and divorce. “I think that I am good now, you really don’t have to offer any more suggestions.”

“Ya know, Don is on his fourth wife. I don’t want you to feel left out.”

“True, got to tell you that I really don’t plan on getting married ever again. He is welcome to the title. Hasn’t someone told him that in the 21st century women will sleep with you without ring on their finger.”

It is not as snarky or sarcastic as it sounds. We have been friends since we were in junior high so there is a comfort level that only develops with the kind of time and experiences we have shared.

Time Is a Bitch

Sometimes I look back on that lunch as the moment I realized that life is nuts. It is kind of a funny thing to me because I had plenty of prior experiences that had proven this to me already. I have been through earthquakes, riots, buried friends and seen a lot of crazy stuff that doesn’t get mentioned on the blog.

But for some reason until that moment I kept a bubble around my head and pretended that things never happened. And then the bubble popped and I began to notice how many things were different than I had expected them to be. Some were different “good” and some were different “bad” but they were there in large numbers.

And now I look around with some regret and some optimism at a life that really isn’t quite what I expected. It is part of why I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want and what I need. Part of why I have tried to figure precisely what changes I wish to make and how to make them. Can’t stand still because stagnation is death.

I attribute some of the “pain” and “frustration” to being a part of change and growth. Attitude, it is all attitude and I have plenty of it. Haven’t been able to play ball this week. The realization breaks across my consciousness like a wave crashing into shore (wish I was at the beach) and it hits me- not enough exercise. I just haven’t gotten enough this week and that always irks me.

It just drags me down. Got two minutes left on the timer and I feel better. Words bring clarity, but I need action to bring results. Don’t have any music playing right now but I hear Robert Plant singing about being a traveler through time and space.

Check back in with me in a year and let’s see what things look like then, something tells me that more will be settled.

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  1. SheilaSo March 24, 2014 at 12:02 am

    When nothing seems to go as planned, I usually take a breather; have a vacation on a quiet place within my city or sometimes within the Philippines. There is always a nook where I can sit around and reflect on my decisions 🙂 And after that, I feel energized and rejuvenated again –ready to take on another challenge 😉

  2. Hajra March 10, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Nothing does go as planned I feel; I feel life chooses to surprise us that way. One of my friend always told me this “Never plan life, or plan the opposite of what you want, use reverse psychology on life and still life will find a way to surprise you anyways”.

  3. Rizwan Sultan March 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Jack obviously out of planned thing disorder specially I left my Senior Team lead job from Software Company Just for lack of planning.I think planned and writing work give you move towards success.

  4. Chopperpapa March 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I think age brings on this questioning. Just today, with a mentor, I was discussing how lately I have been feeling that some of the goals and aspirations I had as a youth are beginning to dawn on me that they will never happen.

    Thanks for the prompt.

  5. Jens P. Berget March 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Hey Jack,

    This is exactly the reason why I quit my job at the University. I want life to do something with me, and to take me to a place that I didn’t realize existed. I want it to be different, and I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen.

    When I worked at the University (a public University), I felt like I went to work and I just sat in my office for 8 hours, and I walked home. That was life. And I have done it for 10 years, life didn’t take me anywhere.

    I am at that stage in life where I get friends who are divorced and I’ve buried friends too. There are many sad things happening, but I’m seeing more positive effects of not planning my future other than being happy and content with what life has to offer 🙂

    By the way, if I don’t say this enough, I’m sorry, but your writing is awesome. You write better than most people I’ve read online.

    • Jack March 9, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Hi Jens,

      If you can be happy and content than you are to quote Charlie Sheen, “winning.”

      To me that is the goal, to be happy and content with life. The job now is to figure out what that is and how to make it happen.

      Thank you for the compliment about my writing. It is really just practice and I have the benefit of writing in my native tongue.

      You should see what happens when I write in Norwegian, it is simply awful.

      • Jens P. Berget March 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

        You should try Norwegian, I’m sure you’d be great 🙂

      • ollieb April 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

        I clicked on this from A Clear View and I believe we are always searching. If we have our life planned out in “5-year goals” – life steps in and has a way of letting you know you are not in control. My life hasn’t gone any way I thought it would – and this is from the age of 9 to now at 58! I just wish one big goal I thought would occur had; it might have made all the difference.

        P.S. letting your friend know you never liked his wife (via the internet) is not good.

  6. Kristen Daukas March 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Do any of us really think that we are where we thought we’d be when we were 18? Maybe it’s being in my 40’s but whenever I listen to someone say “I just never thought I’d be here at this age”, my thought is .. who does? Our image, when we’re 18, of where our life will be when we’re adults is full of hope, wonder and naivety. I would love to be living THAT dream but know that the life I’m living is the one that was destined for me. And I love every moment of it .. the good, bad and ugly.

    did any of that make sense?? 😉

    • Jack March 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      I don’t think I really had any sort of clue what life would look like now so in many respects it is silly for me to say that it is different.

      But I also know that I thought it would be different, can’t say all the ways it would be, just that it would.

      All we can do is try to enjoy the moments we have and make the best of them so I can also say things are pretty good.

  7. Annie Andre March 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Do your friends read your blog. Won’t your friend now know that you never liked his wife?

    And i agree with Julie. I see change happening for you in your near future.. Not a year…

    • Jack March 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Annie,

      He knows, but not because I told him. At one of our poker games one of the other guys stood up and cheered and made an announcement about how relieved we all were.

      I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t know if they would reconcile and I couldn’t see any benefit to telling him he had made a mistake.

  8. Julie March 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    You just said a whole lot.

    I don’t think it will take nearly a year for all of this to come on in, but I could be wrong.

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