The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
I planned on being a teacher for the rest of my life. I planned on moving out and having my own place at 26. I planned on being married to the love of my life at 28. I planned on two kids, one at 30 and the other at 34. They say if you wish to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. If that were true, I feel like one of God’s greatest jokes.
One of the hardest parts of getting over the end of a relationship is getting over all of the plans you had for it. You feel the weight and pain of all the unfulfilled plans. You spend so much time and energy and invest so much hope and emotion into creating plans with this other person who you can’t even begin to fathom a world without. Aside from the physical and financial strain of having to cancel plans and see them dissolve into thin air is the extreme emotional toll of letting go of plans and goals that revolved around the other person and the relationship. It is difficult yet you reassure yourself that it is indeed possible to regain the ability to make plans just for yourself. It is difficult yet you hope that you can one day be able to find inspiration and incentive in yourself to plan for your own future. It is difficult yet you tell yourself, after so many heartbreaks and so many painful partings, that it is dangerous to invest too much in plans that involve someone else. It is difficult yet, eventually, when you pick up the pieces and try again with someone else, you find yourself back in the light. Hoping and planning. Carving a new path forward for your new relationship, hoping that this time it will be it, the path you were meant to take forward for the rest of your life, and not another disappointing detour. Sometimes even more than the plans that are left unfulfilled, you feel the pain of plans never even realized. Each person, each relationship, is unique. It has its own life and takes on its own identity with its own dreams and aspirations. You are kept painfully awake late at night as you wonder about the ‘what if’s. ‘What if we hadn’t broken up, what if she hadn’t broken my heart, what wondrous activities and adventures would we have taken’? What places would you have only gotten to because she inspired you to or brought it to your attention. What world would she have brought into your orbit. What plans did she have. What plans did she hold back on. What plans will she make with someone else.
Beautiful and I were supposed to go to California for her birthday. Well, two weeks after her birthday because that’s when I could get the hotel for free. The plan was two tickets for non-stop roundtrip airfare to and from Newark and LAX. Then, a convertible for five days. Then, taking the Pacific Coast Highway down to Anaheim. Then, two nights at Disney Land for the Disney princess I was in love with. Then, two nights at Huntington Beach to relax, romp in the sand and surf, and explore the city on foot hopping from bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant. The plan for her birthday was to take her locally to a beach to still get her beach fix. Long Beach Island, for example. Yeah I’m a Jersey boy. Now I am left with two non-refundable tickets that I will have to use in the future, minus the airline’s exorbitant change fee; a non-refundable car rental that I bought from one of those cutthroat online booking sites; and some free hotel nights I earned as a travel agent that I can plan on using some other time in the future. I am left wondering if our plans ever meant anything to her. I am left wishing she had been more honest and up-front about her feelings before I shifted so much of myself to allow myself to indulge in the sweet pleasure of planning a life with someone. Never having to plan on being alone again. The sweetest gift a relationship gives you is not one of monetary or physical value. The most blissful reward of a relationship are the promises and the plans. And they, unfortunately, are also the very first thing that she takes back from you. She may have left her sweater at your place, but the promises and plans that flowed out of the relationship and painted pictures of the future were taken down from the halls the moment the relationship ended.
Even this weekend was supposed to have a plan. Bird and I were going to take the early morning train on Saturday and spend the time together talking, sharing stories, listening to each other’s music, she even wanted me to try out Fire Emblem since she’s so crazy about it and I’ve never played it. We were going to check in to the hotel for our shared room, then explore the zoo and then the Spy Museum and then grab lunch. Come back to the hotel and we would alternate one taking a nap and the other taking a shower and getting ready for the night’s company ball. At least then I’d have someone to talk to and sit with. Afterwards we’d ditch the party early and go somewhere for a late night adventure.
Yeah so let’s see what actually happened…
My assignment took me to train stores in Maryland, so I had to leave early, arrive in DC Friday, and just meet her in DC in the morning on Saturday. Oh, and she brought along Hiro, a guy she had met online and was now seriously dating. So the zoo became a third wheel thing. That was incredibly painful. I ended up leaving alone later. I moved my Spy Museum ticket to Sunday since my new train ride back home doesn’t depart until 8pm. I am sitting here typing in my single, king-bedded hotel room. I went to the party, double fisted four drinks, finished a bottle of white wine with my listless corporate dinner, then rushed out even earlier than planned, to sit here alone again, trying not to think about plans and people and Beautiful thinking about her ex or Bird with her new beau in their room.
I’ll admit. I know I’m committed to staying single this year. But…I did, do, like Bird. I was looking forward to spending some time together. I planned on becoming close friends. And maybe at the end of the year, I would have planned on asking her out. But she’s a bright, attractive, and fun person. It would be unfair to want, and unrealistic to expect, her to be single for so long.
That’s the thing about plans. I just don’t know where to put them or what to do with them. I wish I could say I’ve learned to live with or without plans. I wish I could say I’ve learned not to plan on plans. But they’re such a big part of life. Plans push us forward. I planned this blog and planned out my year. But yes, I also planned on being with Beautiful, or trying to be with Bird. I don’t even believe I could honestly say that one should only ever plan for oneself because you have to have plans for the future with someone. It’s in inevitability and it’s also one of the great pleasures of being in a relationship. I miss being able to plan things together with someone and try as you might, you can’t avoid getting drawn into that luxury. I have to learn to let go of some plans though. I do believe that there is a hindrance and an obstacle in holding back because of ironclad plans. I have to let go of certain destinations and vacations and activities that I’ve been putting back because I’ve said I only wanted to do it with someone I was with and realize I can love these things and do them alone or with family or with friends, all of whom are still special and full of love. And I have to lay to rest, eventually and with some great effort, the pains and pressures I have placed on myself because of unfulfilled, changed, or unfinished plans. I am not a teacher, not living on my own, not in a relationship, and certainly not getting married anytime soon. Part of being strong and #committedlysingle is to learn to live with plans, especially when they go awry, and to not lose hope, or to hitch too much of it onto another person. I’m not there yet. I’m far from it. Today was hard. I had to let go of an entire weekend’s worth of plans, and the plans for the future that today was supposed to lay the foundation for. I don’t think I handled it well. I can’t get past the hurt. Maybe, further on, I’ll plan on coming back to this. But right now, I’m not capable yet. I wanted my plans.
And how’s this for plans. I planned on having mozzarella sticks with my late night snack tonight. My bag sans sticks tells me that the pizzeria planned otherwise. Hah. Hah.
Man: 9 Loneliness: 3