So, today I came across a post by Heather Wood Rudulph, over at her Sirens blog, that got me to thinking. In “Over-Planned Parenthood: Complications abound for women in their thirties and beyond who are trying to get pregnant. But are our too-smart, overly analytical brains making matters worse?” Ruldulph bravely lays herself bare. She’s 33, and, in between brushing her teeth and making the coffee, her morning routine now includes peeing on a stick to determine whether or not it’s gonna be a Hump Day. She and her husband, she says, are only a couple months into this wicked game,
However, I am becoming increasingly irritated that things aren’t working out according to my well-thought-out, stringently analyzed plans.
And, let me tell you, the girl has a plan. With spreadsheets. And timelines. And scheduled sex and moves to favorable school districts and new career options that’ll be conducive to part-time work. But Mother Nature doesn’t appear to speak Microsoft Excel. Here’s her analysis of the deeper issue:
Call it the curse of being educated, career-minded, intellectual, and overly analytical. Women of my generation understand the importance of researching every decision, particularly the ones that involve taking on a new goal. We’ll voluntarily walk into therapy to keep life “balanced,” pick up how-to books on everything from fixing our love life to building a porch, and have been raised by parents and society to believe we can–nay, deserve–to have it all if we choose. Oh, and that we can do it all on our terms.
While I myself have never met a spreadsheet I liked, I see her point. And I do think that a certain by-product of growing up in the You Can Have It All era is a fierce belief, that we can, you know, have it all. On our terms. The spreadsheet says so. It’s a bit like the situation I wrote about here, in response to “Confused”‘s angst in the face of her life not unfolding the way she’d planned: some of this has to do with the assumptions with which we are raised. Hard work leads to success. Success leads to happiness.
Sounds peachy. Logical. Linear. Spreadsheet-friendly. But it doesn’t sound much like life now, does it?
It’s jarring when life doesn’t work out according to our plans. Frustrating. Offensive. But equally, with so many paths wide open for the wandering, it can be hard to come up with a plan at all. Compounding the issue of too many options is that of too much information, which, I think, makes choosing anything that much more overwhelming. And doubles the disappointment when you finally, finally decide on a path, only to find it’s closed for servicing.
In those moments, when you realize maybe you’re not the only one (wo)manning the wheel, that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, that this aura of control might in fact be but a delusion, it seems to me you have two choices (yes, choices; we’re back to that): throw a temper tantrum, or try your damnedest to enjoy the scenery while riding out the detour.
Because you never know, that detour might turn out to be a shortcut that’ll land you exactly where you want to be.
And Heather, we’ve got our fingers crossed that you and hubby and spreadsheet and baby will soon make four.