PLAN B: LET’S SEA
Life, as many of us know, is not about how well we execute Plan A. Most often, the way we pull off Plan B—or sometimes C or D–determines the quality of our days. And the quality of our days, as we all know, determines the quality of our lives.
As you may already know, Gail, Suzanne and I are seasoned travelers—at least to Colorado. We have grand dreams of returning to the beach, and in time, I know we will execute this Plan A. Suzanne’s birthday came and went without the beach trip we had hoped for, thanks mostly due to COVID—the biggest Plan A demolisher any of us have ever seen.
I can only speak for myself, but I am pretty sure none of you reading this—as well as anyone who isn’t—had a plan eight months ago to be on high alert for an invisible, biological enemy that could take any one of us down and/or out. None of us planned to stay home for the second quarter of 2020, none of us planned to wear a mask in our daily rounds, and none of us planned on a loved one getting sick or succumbing to the virus. Perhaps you yourself had it already, and your life is still working back to “normal.” If you have, I am sure that was not your plan, and here you are, making Plan B work. Keep fighting the fight, my friend.
Welcome to Worldwide Plan B, a.k.a., “The New Normal.”
I cannot complain (much). Some of my work involves inconveniences such as this,
But it is for my own protection, and ultimately the protection of my patients, and everyone else in this medical setting I come in contact with, and everyone else they come in contact with. It is my part, and I am willing to do it. That doesn’t mean I like it, but this Plan B is not about me.
My life of relative luxury involves adventures. No grand mountain-scaling or diving from airplanes, but simply getting away with my favorite people. Some of these have been scaled down from Plan A, including a trip to the sea with my sisters for Suzanne’s 50th birthday in August. If you recall from Life is Good After Fifty (August 16th, 2020), this seashore trip took place in our backyard—and in our imaginations. It remains alive in our hopes for the next year. Plan B was executed in my backyard redneck above-ground pool
And we made the best of it, cool weather and all.
Speaking of Suzanne making the best of it, she is living out her Plan B in a big way, and I’m pretty sure it’s better than her Plan A would have been. She is letting me print her Plan A, which was this: she was two weeks away from loading up all her possessions in her car (she’s minimal, remember, and they would have fit) and heading for the Florida shore. She was going to make this her new home. Now, just over two years later, she is living in her dream home, and her dream guy is soon to become her dream husband. In that two-week period while she was making her Plan A, he waltzed into her life and, well, you know what happened next.
As her big sister, I must say this: she is happier than I have ever seen her in this Plan B.
Gail had a Plan A, too. She married him, had her first two children, and when that union ceased to be The Plan, they both moved on. Her current husband became Plan B, and she has two more children with him. Plan B turned out pretty good for her, too.
Both my husband and I had a plan A, which involved alternately dismissing the other for greener pastures. Before we got married, we took turns walking away and back again, and here we are, 26 years into Plan B.
Our nest recently emptied. For 23 years, we have had a child living under our roof, and now it is just us. My dear friend Shari’s nest just emptied after 18 years, and we knew we needed to get away to remember our lives outside of motherhood, because in our day-to-day rounds, we were no longer actively mothering.
We decided to fill this hole up a bit with a trip to the sea. Shari planned it, I was all in and we took off on Friday, September 18th. Our destination was Mustang Beach at Port Aransas, Texas. Except that Tropical Storm Beta had the same destination in mind, and shortly after our departure, we realized the need for Plan B.
If not for the possible hurricane that didn’t materialize, we never would have discovered beautiful Medicine Park, Oklahoma. At the urging of several sweet ladies we met along the way, we detoured and spent four nights in this small, but grand town. Its population is not much more than the tiny town we all grew up in—Shari grew up with us, but it swells with tourists enjoying all the activities we did: taking in the grandeur of mountains (who knew there were mountains in southwest Oklahoma?), hiking and kayaking, as well as enjoying the relative peace and quiet of this small cobblestone-rich town.
If you have never been, and you need a getaway, Medicine Park, Oklahoma comes with our highest recommendations. If you have been to Manitou Springs, Colorado (one of our favorite stops along the way in our westward adventures), think of it as a miniature of this beautiful village.
Plan A on the beach—had it not been closed—would have been a grand adventure, I’m sure. But Plan B in Oklahoma was grand as well, and I am so glad we got to experience it.
And, as a bonus, I got to return a favor to Shari. If you recall in Red Leather Cowboy Boots (June 7th, 2020), she helped me pick out my perfect pair of cowboy boots. In a grand western store in Oklahoma City, I got to help her pick out her perfect pair.
Plan B, as I think about it, is most of what life is made of. Aside from the pandemic, I must say that every other Plan B in my life has been a grand detour.
I hope the same for every Plan B in your life.
Happy Birthday today to J.F. He is a young-ish man who has lived his life to the fullest, mostly according to Plan B. He is an incredible man who will likely never let the old man in.