Planning ahead leads to expectations.
It’s one of the downsides of being prepared. Preparing for something inevitably turns into an expectation of an event or outcome. One of my major problems in recovery has been negotiating, with myself, and sometimes with others, what is preparedness and what is future tripping.
The future trip is a recipe for disaster. It’s that imaginary ending that, almost always, is fairly far removed from actual reality. The planning of things, realistically, can potentially set you up for success. For me though, these two concepts walk a very thin line. Plans morph into a future trip and vice versa. So, I have to be careful.
Today, was a day packed solid with planning. Tomorrow is Easter, and with a group of my AA friends coming over, I want my little Easter brunch to be perfect. I spent the entirety of my day getting ready for it. I spent the better part of my morning making a detailed shopping list. A list of what I need to prepare today, what has to be done the day of, and a list of how to organize my oven time. In addition to that, Lars was planing to join me in the evening, so, I made yet another list of the harder dishes to prepare earlier in the day so that when Lars arrives we can make the simple dishes and spend more time focusing on each other, as opposed to a complicated recipe.
And so, I began. Shopping, running around Fred Meyer’s with a list like a mad woman. Ran home, prepped, prepared, and baked the day away. As I slowly worked my way down the list, I felt accomplished, checking off each dish as I finished. And, lo and behold, about an hour before I expected Lars to arrive, I had finished all the items that I’d set out to finish. I happily sat on my back stoop, smoking a cigarette, basking in the day’s hard work and accomplishments.
Then, I got the call from Lars. There was a show he had committed to attending, but had forgot about, and, he was going to go. I was immediately pissed off. I had bust my ass to get all the hard work out of the way so that we could spend time together. He invited me to join him, but, I couldn’t. I still had things to get done, and I had had my heart set on doing them together with Lars. I expressed my discontent. And, he told me he would call me after the show to see if I still wanted him to come over.
As I sulked back into the kitchen, solo, I asked myself if I was overreacting. Sure, my expectations hadn’t been met, but, it was also a breach to a plan that had been made in advance. Who was at fault here? Me, for having expectations, or, Lars for not holding to the plans we’d set? I stewed on it as I baked Irish soda bread and cut vegetables for my crudité.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was pointless to assign blame to either me or Lars. It wasn’t going to change the fact that my expectations hadn’t been met. I could stay pissed all night, or, I could accept that things hadn’t gone how I wanted them or expected them to go and move on in the most positive way I could, which would be to just let it go.
Lars called, as promised, after his show ended. I told him to come over despite being a little sore over the whole situation. When he arrived I took a deep breath, and just pretended as if nothing had happened. I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do, but, it was surely better than being a surly bitch the whole night.
I respected the lesson I’d learned earlier in the week, which was I had to do my “warming up” to Lars before I actually met up with him. If I’m so pissed that I can’t be in the same space as he is without displaying my discontent, well, then it’s probably better not to see him at all. So, I accepted that things didn’t go as planned. In this world, plans rarely go off without a hitch. And, my job isn’t to plan for the plan to fail, but rather, to accept that things change, and then, go with the flow.
So, I ended up enjoying my evening after all. My fridge is locked and loaded for tomorrow’s festivities. And, if nothing else, I can take pleasure in saying that I did it all on my own, without any help. Even if that wasn’t the plan.