Most of us are hoping that our life choices will be fulfilling and satisfying. Our careers, our life-partners, our children and friends, and our economic future all contribute to our happiness and sense of accomplishment. Yet if we are conscious and mindful we can’t help but admit that sometimes everything doesn’t work out the way we’ve planned. We need a general outline of possibilities that will cushion us if we are faced with major changes in outcome of our life-choices. We need Plan B.
My own Plan B when I was ordained a priest included living below my means to save enough so that I was not entirely dependent on the church institution in old age or if I wanted to leave ministry. Plan B for me has also been a conviction that I can change and do not have to stay stuck in life-choices I made when I was 22. Living in the present moment and being as happy as possible now, rather than seeking some elusive dream, is also part of my Plan B.
Each person’s contingency Plan B will vary depending upon their circumstances and their ability to dream. It may be very detailed, for example life insurance to cover dependents in case of sudden death, home owners’ insurance to cover possible natural disasters in different parts of the country, or a safe house where a mother and children can go if physically threatened. It may also be more in the realm of a possible, but not probable course of action, a mental pressure valve of sorts. I used to muse about moving to San Diego, changing my name, and living a whole new life.
Playing with having a Plan B does not mean I will ever carry it out. It’s a device to get me thinking about some possible future scenarios tailored to my particular personality. It also helps me to feel un-stuck and opens my mind and heart to new surprises. Plan B keeps my dreaming alive, prevents me from being over-confident, and reminds me that I have the power within me for amazing accomplishments if only I do not limit myself to present circumstances and resources.
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