The Best Laid Plans

I was to have made my debut as a writer for this web site a few months ago but illness forced me to take some down time. Just when I thought I was back in the saddle or rather, back at the helm, and had begun to pen outlines for a few articles, illness struck yet again – this time with force 10 vengeance. Major surgery interrupted a number of book promotion events, the cancellation of several lifestyle seminars, and a delay in the start of our much anticipated four month cruise. My date with the surgeon also happened to coincide with the date we were to vacant our home in preparation for tenants who were eager to use it as a ski chalet in the ensuing months.

Homeless, hurting (physically), unable to muster up the energy to write, and – of particular importance to me - not able to indulge in my daily exercise fix, could have led to much cussing, bouts of depression, and more than a little frustration and anger. But not even the unexpected assimilation of my husband’s business that began before I was out of the recovery room and the ensuing weeks of negotiations could dampen my spirits. Rather, I reminded myself that there is a reason for all things and when the best laid plans go awry there’s only one thing left to do: execute Plan B. Plan B might be an elaborate, well thought out back-up plan. It can also quite simply entail ‘going with the flow’ and making the best of prevailing circumstances.

Opportunities abound where we least expect them and have the potential to enrich our lives if we accept that there is as much to be gained as there is to be lost when plans are interrupted. Wise cruisers know the importance of embracing Plan B so they’re able to enjoy a few additional days in port waiting for weather rather than hovering miserably over their weather fax hoping for a miracle. And cruising warriors around the world will share their ‘good fortune’ at having to wait four days for the petrol station to replenish its reserves before they could take on diesel; this allowed stragglers in their flotilla to catch up and everyone felt more secure departing together.

Living with my husband’s mother for several weeks while I convalesced strengthened our friendship and filled me with renewed respect and admiration for a woman I’m proud to refer to as one of my best friends. Restricted physical activity has provide me with far more than time to read at my leisure; I find myself reflecting on how I’ve been living my life and considering how I might want to make changes. Had we returned to our S/V in the Caribbean on schedule we would have been trying to negotiate a business deal from afar and something that important demands in-person attention. And, while I’m normally adverse to life in a slip, a few more weeks of recuperation necessitates this stability. We’re renewing acquaintances with islanders we’ll soon be leaving behind indefinitely, and using this time to check and double-check our vessels systems in preparation for our upcoming voyage.

Illness has a way of changing the course of our lives sometimes only briefly and other times in ways that are more profound and long-term. I count the days until I’m once again able to dinghy to a deserted beach to run at dawn, and paddle my kayak to the mouth of a serene anchorage to watch the sun rise. I’m also taking advantage of these few remaining days of down time to ponder how I will implement changes so I that the frenzied pace which characterized my life in the months prior to my illness become a thing of the past. And, for a short while longer I’m delighting in long leisurely mornings on deck with a book in one hand and a latté in the other with nothing more than the rattle of the rigging to distract me.

There are times in all of our lives when we need to remember that while we can’t change the direction or the force of the wind, we can adjust our sails or change our course. In doing so, we have the potential to experience a different but equally rewarding journey when the best of plans go awry.