Plan B

“It’s time my love,” said the voice that speaks softly and often to my soul. “Time to cut another tie. Time to make room for the new.” I hope you have a voice like this one. It didn’t come to me until later in life but I’m so glad it’s here.

I believe this voice chimed in because today, the Universe is putting me through a battery of tests—a pop quiz of sorts. But I’m Plan B ready, sweetheart. Bring it.

As I prepare for a call on the opportunity to ghostwrite what could be a fascinating memoir, my youngest texts me.

I might have gotten on the wrong bus. We’ll see.

As I continue to look up background material to prep for my call, I text back: Oh boy:). What number is on the bus?


I sigh and text back: Ask.

I’ll get off and check at this next stop. It might be the right one.

More sighing on my end: Wouldn’t it be more expedient to ask the kid next to you? Or the bus driver?

After several more back and forths, I get: It’s the right bus. Whew.

To which I reply: Right?! 😊

In what now seems like ancient history (read: several years ago), I would have flipped out, wondering how I was going to handle a call on this potential book opportunity while simultaneously rescuing my son from the other side of town.

Did I mention the water meter guys were in my house at this same time making a mess while my 90-pound Lab was in a barking frenzy in my yard? And that I’m beginning to write Major Study for Major Global Company today, with conference calls galore?

I’m sure you’re juggling your own plates at the moment. You know the feeling. Historically, I’ve made it look like something I’m good at while inside, my adrenals were on overload.

The difference now? Life experience. The Universe pummeling me into submission on Plan B. And sometimes Plans X, Y and Z. No matter. The fingertips that frantically clutched Plan A (MY plan, of course) have been rubbed raw enough that when Plan A feels it’s losing its love for me, I release it immediately from my clutches.

And realize it was not meant to be.

As gut-wrenching as that can still sometimes feel, it is always less gut-wrenching than fighting the Universe’s headwinds. I’ve learned to reverse direction when I must, letting those winds act as guideposts. The alternative is being bloodied and beaten by forces far stronger than I am—simply because I’m not tuning into what I’m being shown/told.

What I love about my son’s bus experience is that while he was rattled—“OMG, I got on the wrong bus. Where the heck is it taking me?”–he was willing to get off the bus and deal with wherever he was. He was willing to admit he might be headed for the wrong destination and change course. I love that, at a young age, he has been able to learn the art of Plan B. I have to believe that is due—in part—to what he has seen me learn and model over the past few years. God, I hope so. I’d rather that as his takeaway and not the moments when I fell apart.

The Plan B I’m living is not what I pictured years ago. Not even close. Divorced, a son in the military, working for myself, gaining weight due to a crazed thyroid—none of it remotely resembling what I saw as the bullseye or brass ring.

And yet, I’ve learned forces bigger and wiser than me show me the way, if I can just loosen my clutch on whatever dream I have in mind.

This week, I cleaned a closet I’ve cleaned a thousand times since my divorce. But this week, I’m compelled to jettison yet one more piece of my old life in a more complete embrace of Plan B. The large box that holds my wedding dress will (hopefully) soon be sent to a military bride in need. My son’s experience in Army basic training has given me a new appreciation for the sacrifices military families make—and it’s a little something I can offer in response to their stepping up for our country.

Does it sound silly that I held onto the dress for six years after my divorce? I guess I don’t care. I ran through all sorts of scenarios in my head for this dress. My future granddaughter might wear it. It could be made into christening gowns for the babies of my babies.

But on the heels of those imaginings came the blunt force realization: nobody wants divorced grandma’s wedding dress. In fact, my friends and I howled over wine one night when imagining how I might offer up the dress from a marriage with a tragic ending as a happy omen. “Here, honey—this dress was the beginning of the end but hopefully it will bring you better luck.”  You get the picture. Let me say it again—divorced grandma’s wedding memorabilia is probably not tops on anyone’s list. Talk about bad juju.

Somehow, this week, I can imagine sending my dress off to a military bride. She’ll never know it brought anything but joy to its original owner. And I hope the joy she feels blesses it with a new life. It’s a beautiful dress and deserves more than to sit on my closet shelf as a sad reminder of how Plan A took a wrong turn.

Plan B is in full force. I can’t quite tell you what it’s taking me to, because—frankly—I’m not in charge. I may be the captain of this metaphorical ship, but I’m done sailing into hurricanes. I’m paying attention to headwinds, trade winds and any other gales the Universe sends my way.

In the words of my wise son: “Whew.”


59 Comments Add yours

  1. I love that you are sending your dress to someone else!! That will bless someone.

    1. candidkay says:

      Right? And makes me happy.

  2. It took me a few years to drop my dried wedding bouquet down the incinerator. That cheating husband really broke my heart — but clinging to the physical remnants of all that hope is basically too painful in the end.

    We are all on on Plans b, J or even M by now. Hang in there!

    1. candidkay says:

      I know with your recent health scare, you’re punting–I’m sure you feel like you’re on Plan Z. I keep you in my good thoughts, prayers and meditation. And I love that you’re using your experience and your voice to enlighten us, even as you go through a scary patch.

      1. Thanks…I have a NYT story about this coming out this week. That’s a bit scary but I think the piece will be well read.

      2. candidkay says:

        Oh, but that is wonderful! Bravo for the bravery . . . and yes, I will look for it! You’re getting two exclamation points from a journalist–and you know how we ration those throughout our lifetimes:).

      3. Thanks…The lede is about my crying through my biopsy but the kindness of the staff also helping me through it…The story is about medical touch and how it can heal or traumatize us.

      4. candidkay says:

        Beautifully done, but that is no surprise. That’s just your regular:).

  3. Its amazing how life teaches us to chill out. Its taken me many years and lots of experience. I still can get frazzled, but one word… acceptance… makes a huge difference.

    1. candidkay says:

      Acceptance is a beautiful word:). Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Thank you and amen, sister!

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re living it:). You’ll get there!

  5. fritzdenis says:

    The Quakers believe in following directions from above and beyond, and when they get it right they feel that they are in harmony with the flow of the universe. The term they use for being in harmony with God is “gospel order”.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ooh, I like that! Gospel order. Resonates:).

  6. George says:

    If plan B works out consider it a success. The alphabet is not always kind when dealing with life options. Keep moving forward..:)

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree, George. There have been times I believe we’ve gotten to Play Y:). Plan B is really a homerun.

  7. So many spaces cleared up with one dress. Headspace is one of the hardest spaces to find room in and one of the most rewarding when you find a whole closet empty. Lovely post, as always.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, I was so focused on the physical space I was freeing up that I had not really thought of the head space. Brilliant:). Thank you.

  8. I so admire you, Kristine. I find myself easily overwhelmed by life, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better as I get older. Sigh.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, me too, sister. Me too. Trust me. As I pulled the dress out of its packing, I cried. It was sad all over again. And then became a happier event as I thought of the woman who might feel joy when she saw this dress.

      1. Yes, keep that thought. What’s over is over, and if something positive can come out of it for someone else, that is enough. xx

  9. You are such a wise woman, and you share your learning so well. What a good idea to donate the dress for the use of a military bride.

    1. candidkay says:

      Aw, thank you, Cynthia. Wisdom here and there, right? 🙂 I appreciate the kind words.

  10. G'amma-D says:

    Plan B for life’s hurricanes. The whispering voice has never led me wrong.
    My daughter’s Plan A for Hurricane Florence was to evacuate her family from NC OBX to my house in central NC. Our Plan B was … we didn’t have one, other than prayer. The best we could do was to turn my 1/2 bath under the stairs into a padded room when the tornado warnings came. Thankfully, the four adults and three kids didn’t have to squeeze into it. Always listen to that whispering voice.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m so glad you have a wise whispering voice. Makes all the difference. And I’m doubly glad you’re all safe from hurricanes, tornadoes and other bits of Mother Nature’s wrath. I think prayer as Plan B is just fine . . . perhaps better than much of what we come up with on our own.

  11. markbialczak says:

    You still have the say over so many of the turns in this trip that’s your life, Kay, and it looks from here that your decisions, on the fly and otherwise, are wise.

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re so right, Mark. I’m not abdicating responsibility, just better tuning in to the guideposts. Here’s to the journey.

      1. markbialczak says:

        I wouldn’t ever think you’d shy away from the responsibility for any reason, Kay. Onward we go, indeed.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you!🙏🏻

  12. marlene frankel says:

    Well things are not going according to anything I planned. I’m on version C. For the second time I am having to parent my daughter’s 16 year old children. Well actually the third time. Grandson given to me when he was 17 (now 21). Now granddaughter 16 is living in my home. I’m almost 70 and I really want some me and my husband and black lab time. Not to be parenting again. Sorry for venting.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh my. I can see why you might sometimes need to vent. I am sure-as much as you love them-you felt your child-raising days were over. And raising teens brings its own special challenges. I will keep you in my good thoughts and prayers. It sounds like you may have signed up for some extra credit in this life. I always joke that I appear to have Signed up unknowingly for the PhD course in life when all I really wanted was the community college cooking class version :-).

  13. I love the way you write of being attuned to the right moment to act: not too soon (or it’s agony) and not too late (which is the risk we take). Your wedding dress is going to a good home. After a stint as a party dress mine did great duty in dressing up box, where it was a favourite of my son Ben.

    1. candidkay says:

      What’s the saying—timing is everything? I’m glad your dress got put to good use:). Just doesn’t make sense to keep something in the closet that could be bringing joy somewhere else :-).

  14. Well done, Mom! Yes. No more hurricanes. You’re doing a great job.

    I love what you’re doing with your wedding dress. This past summer, when I was clearing out attic space in preparation for storing some little kid things that my son can’t part with, I came across my wedding dress and thought of what would become of it. I have no daughter, and both of my nieces who could potentially wear it one day are far too small for it. When the time is right, it will find a new home.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I love to hear that it will find a new home! Spread the joy:).

  15. shamanism1 says:

    Making room for new space is a continuos life journey! Beautifully expressed Kristine and Listening to that inner wise voice is the answer to it all. Keep expanding my friend. 🌈💕

  16. mydangblog says:

    My dad always says “What’s for you won’t go by you.” Sometimes it takes a while, but you usually find that it’s true, and that it’s up to us to grab it!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I love that saying. New to me. Thank you!

  17. It’s good to be so accepting of plan B and wherever you might navigate on those headwinds 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      And wouldn’t it be wonderful if where those headwinds were taking me was amazing beyond my wildest dreams? 🙂

      1. candidkay says:

        From your lips to God’s ears👍🏻

  18. srbottch says:

    We should all have a ‘Plan B’ for whatever! I hope the peeps in Hurricane F have a Plan B. Too often, we wait until A doesn’t work to think about the need for a B. The bride will live it, I’m sure. The son? won’t be his last time thinking about a B, but isn’t it nice he still calls?

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re right. I certainly do pray for the people in the path of the hurricane. And I also pray that my son will continue to call me-even as he figures things out on his own :-).

      1. srbottch says:

        One day, your son will respond or comment to you with special words that will momentarily take away your breath: ‘Mom, I can do this because of everything you taught me!’ Honestly, it’ll happen. And, at that moment, you’ll love him but you’ll feel great about yourself.

      2. candidkay says:

        That certainly sounds great:).

  19. Letting go can be so empowering. Thanks for this.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. Here’s to knowing there’s a safety net down there somewhere:).

  20. Dale says:

    Bravo, Kristine. We cannot help but create a “Plan” for our life as we would like to see it play out. Life mocks that, doesn’t it? Well, for us mere mortals anyway. The ones who manage to create a plan, follow it to the letter and succeed are few and far between, I’m thinking. There always has to be some spoke in the wheel at some time to help us realign said plan.
    It’s funny, Mick’s clothes were in his closet, waiting for my boys to go through them (read, waiting for Mom to take them out and force boys to choose any). Took me over 3 years to do so – more because they were out of sight, out of mind. My wedding dress was rudely kept in a garbage bag (I have no respect for my stuff, have I?) which I then gave to goodwill. I figure they can clean it up and give (sell) it to some bride who can ill afford to pay for one…
    Now, I have to force myself to go through the tools (most of which I have no blessed idea what they are good for) and sell them. The boys are not in a position to want to keep them and by the time they are homeowners will want to get new and better).

    I feel you are doing a marvellous job at your life, with all its challenges and joys and fears and confidence and… well, you get the picture!

    1. candidkay says:

      Well, friend from a far, I believe that you are doing an amazing job. My life going awry was divorce, not the death of a man that I truly loved. They are different. And you keep plowing ahead. I admire your grit :-). And thank you again for your kind words. I know your boys are watching you and learning from you.

      1. Dale says:

        I do thank you. Most times I fear I suck, to be honest. And so very true. Not the same thing but still something difficult to deal with. My fellow widow friends (yeah, crazy there are more than one of us in my circle) kind of agree that there is one aspect better about death than divorce… you don’t have to deal with any fights over anything. You have sole say. And there are no new girlfriends/children to have to contend with either. (Silver linings kinda gal that I am… 😉 )
        My ploughing sometimes feels like a drag but hey, you are right, it is in the forward-ish direction!
        As for the boys, they hide it well 😉 I like to think I’ll see proof later!

  21. suemclaren24 says:

    Another good one. 2nd line (the Universe speaking) – Tim –> time?

    1. candidkay says:

      Good catch! Thank you:).

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