IMG_1250What do you do when you have planned something out and expect everything to go according to plan…and then…it doesn’t?

This actually happens to me ALL the time! It’s a wonder I actually expect things to go according to plan anymore! But, my recent experience moving from one side of the country (USA) to the other became an almost comical scenario of “one more thing” that could go wrong and did!

It all started off pretty well…my cousin’s family was our send off committee and ensured we had every possible thing we could need for our journey. Armed with a car fully stocked with goodies as well as emergency necessities like flashlights and jumper cables, I felt fully prepared to take this long journey. The plan was to leave on Friday morning and get to our destination by Monday night/Tuesday lunchtime at the latest…

I had the car checked…made sure the tires, alignment, balancing, oil and all other fluids were all checked to make sure my 13 year old SUV could make the journey 2700 miles…and she got a clean bill of health.

I arranged with the movers for them to deliver the furniture on the Wednesday, giving me plenty of time to get there (I thought). I wasn’t particularly happy with them since they added an extra $2600 to my bill when they came to pick up the furniture and was simply hoping everything would get to San Diego in one piece.

In truth, that was my hope and prayer for everything…that we would all make it across safely and in one piece. I had my daughter, our dog, and 2 fish with me. Yes, I traveled 2700 miles across the country with 2 LIVE fish! Some might say it was ridiculous to go to such lengths for 2 little $5 Betta fish, but they were my daughter’s pets and I wanted her to be able to keep them if at all possible.

What I got to practice during this trip was flexibility and being able to BEND when it seemed like the circumstances were conspiring to break me. Traveling with kids and pets (by yourself) is not for the faint of heart! There were hotels that turned us away or charged us extra fees and we ate most of our meals in the car, on the run or in our hotel room. And then, 3 days into our trip, my fabulously reliable SUV began having trouble and we got stuck in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 2 days!

At that point, I don’t think anyone would have faulted me for getting upset or beginning to think the trip was a disaster…or even beating myself up over the decision to make the drive by myself in the first place…but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t quit…I couldn’t get despondent; our troupe was counting on me to remain positive and get us ALL safely transported to our new home. I kept reminding myself that we were all OK (which is what was most important to me) and that this obstacle could be overcome and would work itself out eventually.

I must also add that having a super-duper-spectacular daughter certainly helped. She sat in the car with me for 12 -13 hours each day, entertaining herself and not complaining or whining or even asking “Are we there yet?” As fabulous as I’ve always known her to be, this was a surprise. I imagined that as an 8 year old, fussing and complaining would come with the territory of being cooped up in a car for so long. But I was wrong. She was amazing.

After 2 days in Albuquerque, the problem was supposedly fixed and we were on our way again…only the problem wasn’t fixed properly…and even with the mechanics’ reassurances, I could tell things were really not quite right and spent the next 800+ miles quite literally praying that my car would safely make it through the desert. It was the most intense driving experience I have ever had. And now I know that it was nothing short of a major miracle along with sheer determination and perseverance on both my part as well as my SUV’s part that we actually made it to within about 30 miles of our final destination before the car fully conked out.

As frustrating as that could have been, I found myself practicing being calm regardless of the external circumstances I was dealing with. And rather IMG_1571than getting angry or frustrated, I was so very grateful. We made it!! We broke down right as we got here, but we made it!! I was also grateful that a dear friend happened to be close by and rescued us from the car and took care of us for the remainder of the day.

But that wasn’t the end of it…remember at the beginning I told you it was an almost comical scenario of one thing following the other…so what else didn’t go according to plan???

Well…let’s see…I lost the cashier’s check I needed to pay the movers quite literally 5 minutes after I purchased it (and it was quite a complicated & expensive process to stop payment and get it reissued) and the movers wouldn’t begin delivery of the furniture without the check; the movers charged me an additional fee for bringing the furniture up 4 flights of stairs (even though I had already told them there were stairs only and no elevator to our new home); it took them 2 days to deliver and fully unload everything; I discovered that the work done on the car in New Mexico was not very good and fixing the car at this point would end up costing almost as much as it is worth; had to get another car; my laptop disappeared; I hurt my back with all the bending and lifting and stretching I was doing and could barely move for 2 days. And ALL this happened (and even more) in just a matter of a few days…but instead of spending lots of energy focusing on this…

Here’s what I pay attention to:

We ALL got here safely. Everything else is replaceable, we aren’t. We have a lovely place to live, my daughter likes our new home, and has already begun making new friends. I found a great chiropractor to help me with my back and he was kind enough to see me immediately because he could see how much pain I was in (and gave me a discount)…I have a car on loan as I figure out what’s next for me and my SUV…we are almost completely unpacked…and I got to spend time with my friend who rescued us from the streets. And, in general, EVERYONE we have met here in San Diego has been pretty awesome and very helpful.

So, in truth, I can’t help but be appreciative and grateful. I know it could have been much, much worse. And, as things begin to settle down, I know that this too shall pass and soon enough everything will get sorted out.

I share this with you so you can see that my life isn’t perfect…things don’t always go exactly the way I want them to…I’m not “lucky” and get everything I want…. I have had many trials and tribulations, lots of pain and hurt, and made lots and lots of mistakes. Many. My life and many of my past and current experiences…are just like yours.

But, most importantly of all, the one promise I have made myself is that no matter what happens, no matter how many times I may fall or get knocked down, I will always RISE. I may not always feel like it…and sometimes I just want to quit…but I will always get back up. And, in order to do that, I must stay focused on what’s going right when it seems like everything is going wrong.

This is my message to you. It may seem like it’s hard to be positive when all seems like it is falling apart…but it really isn’t. It is truly a choice. A choice you can make to believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel…even when you think that there is no way out.

You have the ability to rise. No matter what. Be committed to YOU and your journey. Let’s stay in this together…and, like a phoenix, together we RISE.