Things don’t always work out the way we had planned. Sometimes in simple ways, such as when I recently brought home a lovely wooden bookshelf that I had carefully selected to store my ever-growing collection of photo albums. The shelf seemed perfect: it was the right color to go with my living-room furniture, and the shelves were tall enough for my photo albums. Or at least that’s what I thought when I measured them in the store. But when I got the bookshelf home, I discovered the shelves were actually a half-inch too short for my photo albums.
My immediate reaction was not my finest hour. I stomped around the house, said a few ugly words, and felt very sorry for myself because I had wasted an entire Saturday morning scouring second-hand shops for this shelf, then hauling it home and cleaning it up before I discovered that it wasn’t going to work after all. I thought about calling my kids to see if either of them wanted the shelf, but then I realized that would mean I still had no place to store my extra photo albums. And I really did like the bookshelf. So I decided there had to be a way to make it work.
I measured an another bookshelf I already had and discovered that if I adjusted the shelves a little bit, my photo albums would fit. That meant moving the books that were already on it, but I did have that brand-new shelf that the books would fit on nicely. I spent the next hour moving books and photo albums around, but in the end, I found I did indeed have room for all the albums and the books that I wanted to keep and that the new bookshelf looks just fine in my office. (I even found several books I want to give away, which means I now have room for more books!)
Sometimes our plans that don’t work out are much bigger, and much more important. I spent years trying to break into the world of children’s publishing, because I was convinced that being a writer of children’s books was the perfect career for me. But after a tremendous amount of time and effort, I only managed to publish one single book. Eventually, I had to admit that this particular dream just wasn’t panning out, and for a brief while, I gave up writing altogether. Then a friend convinced me to give blogging a try, and I became an active writer once again. I may not be writing and publishing children’s books, but I honestly enjoy blogging and feel a true sense of accomplishment when I get a post “just right.”
I think it’s important that we all have plans, goals and dreams, and that we do our best to attain them. But I also think it’s important to realize that just because something doesn’t work out exactly as we had planned or hoped doesn’t mean we’ve failed. It just means that we need to be flexible enough to try a different option or to explore an area we hadn’t considered before. Because success can be found in many different ways, particularly when we’re willing to try “plan B.”