In a roundabout conversation with my doctor this morning, she shared she was widowed. Prior to hearing this, I had kind of written her off as one of those women--you know–the ones who just happen to have it all…great career, a few kids, doting husband, etc. I stupidly categorize people like this in my head, glamorizing their entire existence, only to learn my assumptions were completely off base.
I felt like crap for pre-judging her and couldn’t begin to wrap my head around what she’d been through. She summed it up in a matter-of-fact way, remarking: “You just can’t plan your life, you know?”
This struck me–hard–because I spend a lot of time doing just that. Planning…worrying…planning some more.
From weekly activities to finances and career goals, I tend to default to over planning things. I want everything to always be ok and my rationale is that worrying will ensure this. I mean, I might as well obsess over things that will probably never happen, because that seems like a logical way to prevent them. Sigh.
This incidental reminder came at a perfect time, when a lot of people in my life are going through particularly hard times. Different people in different situations, each rough and overwhelming in its own right. I’ve been thinking through it all and it’s troubling. Sometimes it’s really hard to find a bright side or spark of light in the storm, and sometimes there isn’t one. When the bright side isn’t so bright, we just have to stumble along in the darkness until the sun comes up again.
There’s nothing comforting about this realization, it’s just another lesson in growing up. That the tough times we go through will shape us and strengthen us, and ultimately serve to highlight the better, easy times.