Best Laid Plans

“But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”

Robert Burns
~To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough~

Meter and rhythm.

Yet another affection of mine that accompanies my OCD and yearning for order on this planet that thrives in disarray.  To read the above aloud with a heavily affected Scottish brogue will give you the sense of the intricate flow of the poetry of Robert Burns, patron bard of Scotland.  It will also (likely) turn heads as your co-workers stare at you and wonder just what the ever-living fuck you’re saying.

Burns so eloquently brings to the table the topic for this week’s installment of Redheaded Fury … much more eloquently than I will ever be able, mind you (coming from a mouth that uses words like “ever-living fuck” next to those scribed by a bard of historic proportion). This week, I’ve been pondering the concept of expectations and how the expectations we have impact our lives — for better and for worse.

This morning, I have 83 million thought-bits running through my head.  If my thoughts were marshmallows in a bowl of Lucky Charms, every kid inAmerica would be on a sugar high this morning following their ingestion of my ponderings personified.

I went into my day today with brilliant expectations of an early rise, early start, and productive work day.  Somewhere in between all of that, though, I got distracted and my day began to run amok.  I misplaced my latte (YET to be found, goddammit!), have crashed my database software twice after executing the same “no-no” — TWICE, and blundered a delightful phone call.  My best laid plans have gone soggy while floating in the milk of reality, and all I’ve accomplished thus far is losing my coffee, my clients’ phone numbers, and having one of the most inept phone conversations of my adult life.

I’ve gotten the better of myself again, and my frustration stems from the conflict between my expectations and what is my indisputable current reality.

I am not pretty when I am frustrated.  It is here I swallow every ounce of my pride and tell you shamelessly that frustration brings me to the point of tears and an episode of South Park would make me cry.  I suddenly retreat into a woman whose emotional development ceased at age 5 and I want to draw all over the wall with crayons and then smash them into teensie-weensie bits of waxed aggravation.

For all intents and purposes, I haphazardly insert my head into my ass and subsequently get pissed because I can’t see a damn thing.

On the flip-side of this whole soggy cereal equation is my tendency to have the same behavior with the brilliant things in my life, too.  I mean, for the love of chocolate (and I mean dirty, filthy dulce de leche visions of cocoa-laden love) — I set about to do something, to follow a path and here I go, traipsing down that path full-speed ahead!  I’m making progress towards my goals, living a full life … and then something wonderful comes along. Amidst the smiles and butterflies, I begin my own carefully orchestrated sabotage.  This wasn’t supposed to happen — do I deserve this? — but I’m supposed to be (fill-in the blank) and so on and so forth.  I’m capable of being conflicted while perfectly happy because of some preconceived notion that I should be somewhere other than I am, not feeling or enjoying what’s found it’s way into my life.   Whether it’s timing, texture, geography, or whatever else my John Belushi devil-on-my-shoulder can conjure up, whatever I had in mind ain’t what’s going on, so therefore it must be a problem.



My conflict today between expectation and reality: I don’t delude myself into believing that it’s just me who wages this inner war.  What I do know is that I don’t operate efficiently while conflicted.  And how can I?  I’ve bound myself to a no-win situation while I refuse to accept my here-and-now. We willingly, yet unwittingly create our own enemies when our current circumstances differ from what we’ve envisioned.  I guess it’s a good thing that I can acknowledge this about myself, the tendency of this absent mind of mine to misplace coffee and not be able to get over it.  (I still cannot tell you where the fuck my latte is, but once I get over it, I know I’m going to have a much better day.) The great thing about where my life is at these days is that I think my “head-up-my-ass” moments are spanning shorter times, and I’m recognizing when I’m in one.   When I pick up on the fact that I’m subverting my own good fortune, I can take a step back and give myself a mental “thwack!”  Stop it, quit it, and breathe.  It’s all good … really, Erika.  It’s all good.  When my mind is settled, I can then begin the process of releasing myself from the expectation that where I’m at is anything but exactly what it is.  Granted, some days are more soggy marshmallows than anything else, but past performance is not indicative of future results, and the present —

Ahhhhh … the present.

What an extraordinary place!  The biggest smiles and most memorable moments, for me at least, don’t come from planning something to death or pouting about the status quo.  Nor do they come from my head-up-my-ass interludes.  They erupt in a volcano of surprise, where my glee comes from the feather of now tickling my soul and I can appreciate fully what I never saw coming.



Just … be.

Not so many years ago, my friend Karen gave me a card which read:

“Perhaps the reason for your discontent is your attachment
to how things should be
instead of how things are.”

While I can’t tell you what became of that card, I do know it’s been two hours and forty-five minutes since I lost my latte and even less since I donned my Cape of Miscommunication and flubbed a phone call.  My database still has issues, but I’m working around them.  Kind of.  OK, my IT guy is going to be pissed at me for my “temporary fixes,” but oh well.

But it’s 10:40am, and I’m pretty much over it.  All of it.  Well, over it enough to extract my head from my ass and make a valiant attempt to have a kickass day.

Is it wrong, though, for me to have expectations of a banana milkshake sometime later today?  Seems only fair, since I lost my latte and all ….

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