Things rarely turn out as planned, and that can be a really good thing. Take, for example, my 2009 divorce. When I was first served the papers, I was devastated: first, because I was blindsided (just the night before the papers were served, he told me we'd work on things); second, because I was scared (I was a stay-at-home mom, so how would I support my son?); and third, because I felt like my heart would have been ripped from my chest if he had taken my son from me.
But it all worked out. I got my son and my books, and he got everything else. I was okay with this, because my son was with me. So armed with the security of keeping my child, I decided to charge out into the world to make a better place for us. I enrolled in college, double-majored in Creative Writing and English Literature with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies, and graduated with honors and a 3.9 GPA. Now I'm in a job in IT where I get to use my creative skills creating training programs and videos, whitepapers, social media content, while managing the day-to-day IT software license operations that occur when buying and selling pieces of a Fortune 500, 300,000 employee, international company.
I love my job and I love my life. No, it's not perfect. I barely make enough money to make ends meet. The ex ran away to another state be "be close to family" (leaving his most important, youngest family behind), which meant I lost any support in raising my son. I have crushing student loan debt. And I always seem to be playing catch up on bills. But I'm happy. I have my son, I have my education, I have my books, and I get to be creative for a living.
It certainly isn't how I planned it, but it's pretty damn great.
Would I change anything? Sure. If I could have my wishes granted, the ex would move back to Ohio to be close to his son and actually have a relationship with him, rather than just calling and talking to him on the phone for 10 minutes once a week (if that). The ex's family would regularly call or video Skype with my son so he could have a bond with them (something I've offered for them to do time and again, but they have NEVER done, which makes me inordinately sad). I would be making a living as an author and not have to move into the corporate world (however wonderful it is for me right now). I wouldn't have debt.
But life isn't how we planned it, so we have to make the best with what we have, and I have an amazing child who doesn't seem to be too affected by the lack of attention from his Georgia family and an amazing job that lets me have fun with my creative side.
Now, does that mean I'm content to keep living this life indefinitely? No way. I have plans, big ones, that I'll be working on for the next year or two. I'm ready for the inevitable setback, or being thrown off-plan, but my health and ultimate happiness demand I don't give up striving for that life I wish for. Even if I never get there, at least I won't ever have stopped trying.
I guess the point is, if you ever find yourself living the life you never planned for, find the joy in it and love it, but also never stop trying to achieve your dreams.