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Life is what happens when your busy making other plans.

Someone I respect and admire dearly reminded me of this quote recently. She said as John Lennon once wisely put it ‘Life is what happens when your busy making other plans’.

It made me stop and think about the unexpected. The things we don’t plan. The moments that change our lives forever – yet we never intended for them to happen.

So often we get caught up in the ‘I should’. The musts. The things we feel we must do. We spend our time planning and imagining how things will be tomorrow, or how they will look next week – or even next year. Yet all the time we are busy planning – we are not only missing the magic of the moment, but we also have no space or room for the unexpected. The surprises in life. Spontaneity, change, a different direction. Whatever it may be. If our days are so tightly formed and our lives are so carefully managed – then where is the room for the magic. Where is the space for the gifts that life can bring?

It could be a new job opportunity. Or a new relationship – either friendship or romantic. It could be a chance to travel, to re locate, to expand our horizons and try something different. The chance for learning something new could enter our lives. We could end up living in a different home or trying a different sport. Getting married when we never thought we would. Having children when we didn’t plan it. The list is endless. But if our eyes are never open and if we focus purely on how we think things should look. Then we miss these unexpected chances and moments. And more than that – if they do suddenly enter our lives – we can feel overwhelmed and at times afraid. Our anxiety can rise, and we can begin to feel out of control – all because we didn’t plan for these events that are now occurring

Human nature is to view the unexpected as stressful. And stress can leave people responding in one of two ways. Either through a fight or flight response. Adrenaline can kick in and as people begin to feel stressed, they begin to act in different ways. Some will want the unexpected events to go away. They will want to say no to them, or walk away from them, or avoid them – craving a sense of normality in their lives. Others will want to address them face on – to challenge them, to make them work, to find a way and formulate alternative plan.

But what if these events weren’t viewed as stressful at all? What If they were viewed as gifts? If they were seen as opportunities and chances? If they were something refreshing and new. A chance for something new to enter our lives. A new opportunity? A new challenge? A new path? If we thought of these events as doors that have opened for us – then we would be able to enjoy and embrace them more. Just because we didn’t expect or plan something – it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it. Just because something or someone wasn’t part of our agenda – it doesn’t mean we can’t embrace them. If we looked at the gifts that life throws at us more openly and less fearfully – then we would all be more at ease.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. There will always be challenges and there will always be hurdles to overcome. But we can work through them all – one step at a time. Bit by bit. Day by day. Things get there and things do fall into place. The challenge is trying to embrace the here and now. Trusting the process. And knowing that your present situation is not your final destination.

You have got this. Just for today. And every day.

No matter what life throws at you – you are stronger then you believe.