Well, if all had gone according to plan, I’d have written this blog post this morning as I flew toward Syracuse, NY. My school’s on break, so I had planned to spend a few days in upstate New York at Vasnefy’s house. My plans did not come to pass, as not infrequently happens.
|Instead of travels, my vacation involves apples!|
However, I can definitely say that the reason for the failure of my plans has never been quite so extreme. This time it wasn’t a family emergency or an impromptu gathering of friends or unexpected teaching work…Instead it was Hurricane Sandy, barreling her way up the East Coast. I called the airline; I called my parents; I called my uncle in Pennsylvania; I called Vasnefy. It became obvious I had to cancel my flights.
So I’m still home, and thankful to be here – and I want to tell anyone from the Northeast who reads my blog that I wish you all well and pray for your safety in the storm. The images of devastation that I’ve seen are terrifying and awe-inspiring. I hope Sandy dissipates quicker than expected, so that no more damage will be done.
What have I been doing since the utter reversal of my plans, though? After all, I planned to edit like a veritable editing fiend while flying around the country this vacation. Also, in order to justify my taking the trip, I had to plow through a notable stack of school preparations. I graded 32 tests, read 15 books of the Iliad, composed a recommendation letter, answered student emails, wrote Latin lessons and Greek tests—all within two days, so that I could fly with a free mind. Well, now I’m not flying, but I still have that free mind, plus unexpected quantities of time.
I had to create a new plan. This one might fall through, too, but it probably won’t crumble quite so spectacularly as my trip!
|Voila: tiny, doughy hurricanes...|
So, as a way to ease into my transformed vacation, I decided to bake. It’s soothing – helps me hit my stride again. After all, yesterday became rather stressful after I discovered that I’d be flying into a hurricane and scrambled to salvage the situation. The stress apparently declared itself by prompting me to make spiral-shaped baked goods…I promise I didn’t do it on purpose, but after I finished I realized both my cinnamon buns and my apple ‘cart’ featured miniature culinary hurricanes of their own. The power of suggestion…
Anyway, while baking, I worked out a new plan. First of all, I had to finish the Iliad (I had 6 books left), so as to bring my school preparations to an end. Of course, I also want to get lots of editing done. I owe letters to two friends, and my younger brother realized he suddenly had someone to hang out with on his day off tomorrow. So today was Iliad and baking day; tomorrow will be letters and fraternal socialization day; finally, Thursday and Friday should turn into edit-like-crazy days. A schedule like that is good enough to make sure I stay productive.
The danger with a sudden change of plans, I find, is that it can discombobulate us enough to dissipate our energies. We had splendid hopes of working on various projects – but then a circumstance alters and in surprise we can’t recover. All the progress we had imagined for ourselves comes to nothing. We find ourselves watching reruns on Hulu, instead of opening our files or notebooks. (Perhaps you can tell that I’ve done this before…)
So from personal experience, I can say that the best way to avoid such a lapse into inactivity – in case of hurricanes and other shocks – is to give yourself a day to regroup. Don’t vegetate, however; vegetating is strangely addictive. Instead, pick something that’s fun to do, but not stressful, not complicated. I’m sure everyone has a hobby or interest along those lines – I cook; the Fashionista quilts; Vasnefy reads fantasy.
|Relax with some cake and tea, for example!|
The best thing about such an occupation is that it should give you time to ease into a new course of action. The human constitution doesn’t seem to be well-adapted to instantaneous changes: in other words, don’t try to force yourself to change instantly. For myself I find that if I don’t stress over being flexible, I can actually bend to suit almost any situation. On the other hand, if I keep pushing myself to flex, I feel the resistance building up (that’s when the Hulu reruns suddenly sneak up on me).
So, since we all have plans which go astray or even fail utterly, I guess my advice is, ‘Relax!’ Don’t panic too much, if possible, and I think a new direction will quickly emerge.