Jun 12, 2007


by Terri Wagner

How well do you accept change in your life?

Some people plan their lives so completely, there is no room for change and suffer terribly when in fact changes come. Other people embrace change so thoroughly, they become bored with real life and seek to feed the change beast. Most of us are somewhere inbetween, both dreading and desiring change.

I bring this up because of a talk I had with a co-worker the other day. We are both in our 50s, and I mentioned that when I was young, old people (yes, I thought 50 was ancient and in those days 55 was retirement) would always say life never turns out like you thought it would. So I made darn sure I had a great life plan.

Plan A contained everything I wanted to make me happy, productive and fulfilled. Heavenly Father approved of my plan; I figured He would since I pretty much based it on my patriarchal blessing. I had age goals (by 21, I'd have my BA), I had spiritual goals (temple work), mother goals (four at least) and life goals (I wanted to be a college professor).

Now, plan in hand, I started out perfect, graduated at 21. The next two years were to be work/master's/marriage. Somehow NONE of that happened. And I failed to make a Plan B. I just started drifting and eventually gave up on each goal. Then 10 years ago, life took a very strange turn. I ended up back in Alabama, taking care of my father and writing. Writing was never in the picture for me.

Am I happier? No, I liked Plan A. But the interesting question is has my life been worthwhile? That was really the underpinning of the original plan, a life worth living. I am beginning to think so, although I mourned the demise of Plan A for years, desperately trying to modify it. Now, I'm just hoping that when I have that life evaluation, Heavenly Father will say "Well done, thou good and faithful daughter." And really, that's all I wanted in the first place. Plan A would have gotten me there; but No Plan (as I call it) may do so as well, just differently.


  1. Terri, what a thought-provoking post. I would say you've done well, even without being able to follow 'Plan A'. Remember, 'no choice' is really a choice, a step into the dark, often requiring more faith, and sometimes it's even more rewarding.

    You started with a question. I'll answer. I'm the kind to accept change with enthusiasm. Yet I'm also comfortable with the status quo. Either way, I procrastinate. Fortunately, I do some of my best work under an imminent deadline.

    I make daily and/or weekly detailed plans of things that I must do, but get so easily distracted I've yet to get much more than half my projects done in the given time. (Some jobs keep being forwarded for years!)

    Then, sometimes plans work even when completely forgotten. I recently discovered educational goals I'd written shortly after my seventh child was born in 1961: BA-1970, MA-1973, PhD-1978. I checked my diplomas and the first two were right on target! I'm still waiting for the third but two out of three is amazing.

    One caution: Be sure you want it before you even suggest a plan. I thought I was joking, not praying, when I told my husband I would stay home and have another baby while he spent a year stationed in Iceland. Something within me must have taken me seriously. I'm eternally grateful. That very talented fifth child favors his dad.

    On our wall is a poem we bought in Old Sydney, which should inspire me.

    The clock of life is wound but once
    And no man has the power
    To tell just when the hands will stop
    At late or early hour.
    Now is the only time you own
    Live, love, toil with a will
    Place no faith in tomorrow's work,
    For the clock may then be still.

    Keep on planning -- or be accepting.


  2. I thought your posting was very poignant, and yet, I think what happened to you is the rule more than the exception. Life almost never follows even the best-laid plans. Probably in that lies our salvation.

  3. I remember reading a sign posted in a friend's home: "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." It didn't mean as much to me then, as it does now...

    My original plan was to become a veterinarian, then marry, then raise a couple of children. Instead, I married at 18, and discovered a passion for writing and teaching about the things I have been learning along the way.

    And ya know...I'd say I am very grateful for changes in my life. I have grown in ways I didn't think possible.

    Thanks, Terry!


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