Beyond Plan B

I belong to various beading groups on Facebook. The manager of my favorite, Seed beads and More, recently posted the following quote from an unknown source:

"Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know."

I agree with the sentiment behind that quote, although my version would add other emotions to 'boring.' Scary, challenging and exhausting come to mind. Through the eyes of a crafter, breaking beyond one's comfort zone includes learning a new technique, experimenting with a different color way, developing an original design, and being brave enough to hold one's work up to public scrutiny.

Plan A is our go-to. Plan B is well within the 'I got this' zone. I can make a case that even Plans C & D have at least a pinky-finger grasp on the familiar. But beyond?

I have a strong need to be in control. Plan G? What the hell is that and how can I bite it before it bites me? As a child of Depression-era parents, worrying and caution are second nature. The beginning of my reinvention adventure catapulted me far into the letters of the alphabet.

My mom had three primary fears during her later years: having a terrible illness which would send her to the hospital perhaps never to return, trying to find a job at an advanced age because she was broke, and being contacted by the IRS. It didn't matter that she had been phenomenally healthy all of her life, had plenty of money to support herself comfortably until she died, and was surrounded by trusted financial advisors who could help her in the event that the IRS did indeed call. She clung fearfully to her Plans A and B. Keep mobile and eat sensibly. Be careful about spending even a minuscule amount of money no matter how much you had in the bank. And as a defense against the IRS, she both hoarded every of paper that referred to any transaction and also posted notes near every phone with the same message that she intended to read verbatim should the dreaded phone call arrive. She would prove to any con artist that they had 'another think coming' if they dared to pull one over on her.

It was pointless to try and reassure her. I keep one of her IRS beware! notes nearby to remind me both that excessive worrying is not the way I want to spend the rest of my life and that I have no idea what the rest of my life will look like. A post-it note guarantees nothing.

As is the way of life, the start of my reinvention was signaled by the end of my lifelong career and a scary diagnosis which involved surgery and frequent trips to the hospital afterwards. Since I have high regard for the humor and wisdom of the Big U, I waited for the inevitable third member of my mother's trifecta to drop. It came in the mail: a message from the IRS that there were some irregularities in the tax filings surrounding my mother's estate that affected me.

It took some time for me to see the gifts contained within these challenges. In different ways, and with a tremendous amount of support, I met each. I don't believe in overcoming. I do believe in meeting and pushing through, looking for lessons along the way. Every day, as I am tempted to veer into excessive worrying, which masks my need to feel in control, I remind myself that I was thrown my mom's Big Three and lived to tell the tale. As a dutiful daughter, the message is clear.

Who the hell knows what is Beyond Plan B? That might be the point.

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