I’ve talked about this a little bit in this post, but since it’s been going through my mind for several days now, I wanted to elaborate. If you could ask anyone that knows me (before loss) just a very little bit, they would tell you that I am a meticulous planner. VERY meticulous. Many would even say I’m a control freak. If you looked at my agenda you’d think “Oh my god, do you have any time left to go to the toilet in there?” I had a very busy life. On top of that, I planned everything, from shopping to ironing, repetitive tasks, you name it, it was in there. I have friends that found it exhausting and suffocating that I planned everything out so precisely. This actually had quite a bit of advantages in my opinion.
It all started when I was overweight and decided that I’d had enough, that I was going to lose weight no matter what. Over the course of a year, I lost 30kg. People keep asking me how I did it… Well, it was simple (that doesn’t mean easy): I planned, committed to it, and worked hard. I planned my workouts, every minute of them. I planned my meals, from when to go shopping to when to prepare them. That way I was always on track. I’d get reminders that helped me stay on track. And it worked. I lost 30kg. I worked very hard for it, but my agenda helped a lot. My agenda was my jumpstart.
Since the planning-thing seemed to work for me, I started to plan more and more. Obviously all social events where in there, which is quite normal. To have dentist appointments in there sounds about right too… But to plan your ironing and cleaning schedule… I think I crossed a line there.
The moment I found I was pregnant, I calculated my due date, and planned out my entire pregnancy in my agenda. Every week was an event, from 6 weeks (when I found out) to 40 weeks, all scheduled. This way I could look into the future and know exactly how many weeks pregnant I would be at some point in time. And it didn’t stop there. When I passed the twelve-week mark, I started planning milestones: By that date, the nursery should be ready, by that date, my hospital bag should be ready… But even that wasn’t the end of it. I went on to planning when we’d choose the colours to paint her room, when we’d buy the furniture, when we’d shop, when I’d do my spring cleaning, I even had events in there to remind me to stock up on everything we needed at home before my due date arrived to make it easier on myself after birth. I’ll stop right here, I’m sure you get the point.
When we lost Sahar, all those plans, all those events and appointments were nothing more than shattered dreams. I kept getting reminders and pop-ups of events that I should have been attending. “Go choose the nursery furniture” popped up on my phone 2 days after Sahar was diagnosed. 2 days after they told us she would never be born alive. 2 days after they told us we were going to lose her. That pop-up broke my heart all over again… It reminded me of what I should have been doing. It reminded me that I shouldn’t have to be planning her funeral instead. I instantly deleted all the upcoming events I had planned, and I didn’t plan anything in my agenda ever since. I couldn’t even bring myself to put actual appointments in there. I would just try to remember that I had to go the OB on June 19th, and that my manicure was scheduled on June 20th. I’m realising now that that’s not the way to go either.
You cannot predict life. You can only hope for the best. So what’s the limit? What can you plan, and what can’t you plan? I thought it over a lot. And this is what I came up with…
First of all, I will start planning again. I will schedule my workouts, because that’s my way of commiting to them and I know this has worked for me in the past. I will include all social appointments, all my doctor appointments, all my manicure appointments. And that’s where it ends. There’s more. My agenda won’t rule my life, it will be more of a guideline instead. Because, whatever I put in my agenda, whatever event or appointment, is subject to change. My doctor might call me to reschedule my appointment. I might be sick when I planned to go for that dinner friday night and call it off. I might be too sore to go to my next workout. I’m letting it act like a reminder for what I have to, and a motivation for what I should do. That’s my new limit. No more craziness. No more control freaking.
So this here’s a note to myself and to all you extreme planners out there:
Do not plan the uncontrollable. Keep an overview of what you have to do, but let it go with the flow. Let life take it’s course, whatever that may be. Keep track of your appointments so you don’t forget about the commitments you made to people. Include reminders to keep yourself motivated. But don’t plan every minute of your life in an agenda. Embrace whatever life has got in store for you. Having a plan is important, but whatever you plan is, it’s subject to change. And once you realise that, you’ll feel better. You’ll learn to trust the unknown. You’ll learn to hope for the best, dream of the future, keeping in mind that things might just turn out to be different. And that doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad, it just means that it might be different (maybe even better).