There are always silver linings, we just have to be able to spot them.
I'm an easy going planner. I'm usually as flexible as they come until there's an agreed upon plan. Once there's a plan in place I lose all flexibility. I don't think I've been this way my whole life but I've found that in my adult life, my ability to plan is one of my strong-suits. It gets me by in life and contributes to my success. But like all strong-suits, there's another side to the coin. This planning strong suit of mine is born out of the fear that I won't be as prepared as I should be when I need to be. I've been able to see for quite some time how ridiculous that fear is and how beneficial it would be to keep the strong suit but to get rid of the fear of not being prepared and the stress that comes with it.
I've been told (by Nate) that I should "learn to roll with the punches." I remember the first time he pointed this out to me. It was a weekend and I was studying for an upcoming test when he informed me that our social outing had been moved up. This was cause for an instant freak-out. The change of time either meant that I had less time to study so I could go get ready or that I could study and not have enough time to get ready. What was a girl to do? This girl panicked. Thinking back now it's comical but at the time my plan was being messed with and I wasn't coping too well with that. After talking with Nate I had a huge epiphany; I was HORRIBLE at rolling with the punches and I wanted that to change. It didn't. Every time he reminded me that I was creating the possibility of being someone that rolled with the punches, I felt more like punching him that rolling with anything.
So go figure I go and find out I have a tumor in my head AFTER I have several plans in place for the next couple of years. For starters the only break I was "planning" to take from my doctoral program was to have a baby. After all I had made great friends at school and my study group was solid. Nothing was going to derail that plan. Baby making was also supposed to start right after the wedding. I even had planned out that we would start after the honeymoon not to risk being at a wine tasting while pregnant. Then of course there's things I hadn't planned for yet, but a wrench has been thrown into any sort of plan I would have made. For example, I had no idea what hair style I was going to have for my wedding cruise weekend but a wig was definitely not one of the options. Then there are the day to day plans. The to-do lists that must get done - or else! Or else what? Or else I'll fail and I won't be prepared and probably the world will fall apart.
But you know what I realized after my diagnosis, the world has never fallen apart (not even close) because my plan got derailed. It's ok that I'm taking a semester off or that I'll have to wait a year to have a baby, or even that I'll be wearing a wig on an island in the hottest month of the year. It's a misconception that we have any real control over our lives. Plans change in an instant ...whether you had that in your to-do list or not.
One of the things that happens to you when you find out that something is going on with your health is that you gain a new perspective. Suddenly certain things you thought were crucial don't seem so important any more. It's quite a gift really. The important things shine brighter and you're able to focus on them and be present to the wonderful blessings in your life. The unimportant things (those that usually cause the most stress) become dull almost like background noise. Life has forced me to learn to roll with the punches. Good thing too - because that was totally part of the plan (kidding)! I've been noticing this difference in me for quite some time and hence there's the silver lining. I had been wanting to create myself as someone who could roll with the punches. Turns out the big guy upstairs must have known it was going to take something drastic. I'm present and grateful for the silver lining.
This morning I had planned to start working at 9am. I had some pain that didn't allow me to concentrate until 11am. Normally this would have been a cause for stress. Instead I slept a little longer, meditated for a half hour, watched Dr. Oz, and then worked until a little later than planned.. No stress required. It turned out to be a productive day...punches and all!