By the time I graduated from high school, I had the plan. You know, The Plan – the map of life drawn out to my specifications. In my head, The Plan flowed seamlessly like a Monet landscape. I would attend college, go to medical school, get married, have kids and just be happy (input LEGO movie emphasis). Playing the role of Prince Charming was that guy who would fundamentally understand my every want, would put up with all of my faults sansargument, and would support my choices, consequences be damned. Ha.
Reality’s first catastrophic collision with The Plan occurred during my college years. I met Prince Charming. Incredibly intelligent and attentive, I fell hard. And I fell even harder when he broke my heart. Then, the unthinkable happened: he died in a boating accident just before our Junior year. Without the tools to process this circumstance, I descended into the maelstrom. Years passed before I reached a peaceful place about this loss. Round One to reality.
In the meantime, I struggled with academia. Challenged by many of my science classes, I did not excel. After graduation, I took the medical school entrance exam twice, and did poorly. My applications to medical school did not result in admission. Round Two to reality.
Because of my love of medicine, I became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician – you know, an ambulance driver) and fell into a job in the emergency room of a Level 1 trauma center in New York. Wonderful (and crazy) people work in emergency rooms. I learned a lot, more than I suspect anyone would ever consider. Bitten by the emergency medicine bug, I became a paramedic. For those who aren't acquainted with the difference between a paramedic and an EMT, paramedics can place an IV, intubate, administer medications, use a defibrillator, among other things. Equipped to take care of most medical emergencies that occur outside of a hospital, it is a position that gives one great exposure to medicine. And, it tests your ability to manage crises. Round Three to me.
Here is where my internal GPS started “recalculating.”
Obviously, The Plan didn’t happen. Reality stepped in with a few lessons I had to learn. As I look back, I see that I could not have avoided the loss in Round One. Apparently, I had to learn about love and loss early in my life. But, I could have changed Round Two. I know I could have doubled down and worked harder, but I didn’t. My loss in Round Two was my fault.
Round Three helped me reset my path. And, with all the twists and turns, it brought me here. Had I gotten into medical school, I certainly wouldn’t have taught, or gone to law school, or met my husband, or had my son, or created Power of the Flowers. God’s hand? Cosmic forces? Something in between? To whatever I can attribute my path beyond The Plan, I am forever grateful.
When reality steps in to alter your Plan, take a breath and allow your path to recalculate. You are meant to do wonderful things. Look at your options from the new vista, and keep moving forward.
Where you are meant to be is waiting for you.