When Your “Plan” A Bombs

Scan 111690003Well, we made it through Book Launch Day, a day when my equine muse Noah Vail sent me a text saying he needed a cold compress for his head. Apparently his new role as my official publicist for The Promise in Plan B sparked a headache and an nasty case of stage fright.    

Not that Noah’s shy about public appearances or posting pithy snippets on his social media pages. He also continues to point me toward more daily fun including extended rounds of gin rummy. Truthfully, Noah adds a bit of levity to this new literary enterprise. He would call it an entertaining correction to my editorial style.

So, a few years ago, Noah and I were relaxing in front of a cozy fire at the Gunflint Lodge in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area, when we came up with this new book idea. Our up North companions were just tucking into a baked artichoke dip and a second glass of chardonnay when I asked a question:

“How many of you are living your Plan A?” Nobody raised her hand.

Suddenly the noisy group that had been weighing the merits of walleye fishing and moose calling fell silent.

“I don’t even remember my Plan A,” snorted a psychiatrist from Saint Paul.

“My last kiddo just left for college, and I feel a footloose new plan coming my way,” announced a journalist. Another had lost her job as a marketing executive and, at age fifty-five, faced the prospect of nonstop networking. The second glass of chardonnay was helping to elevate her pain.

Fishing licenses and moose tracking would have to wait. The group discussion exploded with stories, observations and advice about best-made plans that had fizzled or simply run out of steam.

Everyone agreed that, while life offers plenty of opportunities, it also tests us with setbacks, dead ends, hellos and good-byes. Relationships ebb and flow. Jobs begin and end. Responsibilities mount. Sickness and losses arise. Most of us find ourselves steering from one safe harbor to another, searching for continuity and meaning, while scrambling to set our sails for the new leg of the journey.

So, The Promise in Plan B emerged from this Boundary Waters chardonnay and artichoke dip caper. We all agreed that life usually showed up as a series of interruptions, some rude, others delightful. In either case, we each possessed a wealth of resources to initiate, investigate and recreate the way we travel through our shifting courses. It’s these gifts that hold the real power to brighten the quality of our lives and the ease with which we move from one chapter to the next.

I read this little blog to Noah, just before book launch ground zero. He brightened and lifted the cold compress from his brow. “You know, he said, “when I got booted from that racetrack and landed up North in flyover country, I had no idea what an Oklahoma expat was supposed to do with a bunch of Minnesota Norwegians.”

Not that this turned out to be a bad thing for either of us. In fact, we’ve had a fine adventure together with our Plan B.

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