Planning not to Plan

It’s that time of the year again! Nick and I spent most of today packing up for our annual European racing trip.  It’s not always so annual though.  This time last year Nick was recovering from knee surgery, and the year before that it was hip surgery.

Surgeries are hard. I still remember the long, anxious hours I spent in the waiting room. I hope and pray we never have to go through another one again. But the hardest part about any injury or surgery is the disappointment in realizing that things have changed.  Plans have changed; goals have changed. Instead of racing in Paris, we’ll be waiting in line at the doctor’s office. Instead of setting a Personal Best, Nick will be learning how to walk again. Parting with control is the hardest part. It hurts to know that all the work of the last six months has all been in vain. Accepting a new reality is no easy task. We’ve had to do it—twice now, and it’s taken that much for us to learn something very important: we never actually had control in the first place.  Complete control over anything is a myth. For us, it was difficult to relinquish our plans because they were based on a false reality—an illusion, really, that we had control over our lives. When that illusion was broken, we felt—well, broken.

Remembering those times reminds me that traveling like this for Nick’s job is a privilege. It’s not a guarantee.  We don’t know what it looks like to preemptively give up control, but we’re set on figuring it out. How do we make our plans but still know that they are not really ours? How do we hope for the best in Nick’s races but still guard against a selfish feeling of entitlement? We’ve got plans and we’ve got high hopes. But we’re also trying to be realistic—be flexible. That said, our “plan” is to start off this trip racing in Cork, Ireland on Saturday. After that, on to Birmingham, UK, to spend some time with Nick’s sister, Mieke, her husband, James and their little boy, Noah.  Nick’s fit and we’re excited about this trip; we’re excited about the unknown; and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.

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