I am a planner, and I think many women in their thirties can relate. My to-do lists are long and plentiful, and I derive great joy by checking things off one by one. This goes for tracking meetings and yoga in my iPhone as well as such lofty long-term goals as 'learn to cook more than three things' and 'develop an appreciation for British literature'. (Sorry, Dickens, but you bore me.)
I've always been this way. When I was a kid my life plan included a career in TV news journalism, a completed family by the age of 28, and a house in the Bay area because that's the only place in the world. But things don't always go according to plan, as any woman in her thirties can also relate to. A move to China? A first baby at 32? Brad and Jen split up? None of these things would have been fathomable to me ten years ago.
However, despite knowing in my head that life doesn't always follow the plan you lay out for it, my heart still has a hard time computing that message. Case in point: at my last ultrasound the tech told us that my placenta is too close to my cervix (sorry for all the yucky girly-words, guys reading this). It's not a big deal, it could still move on its own, and the worst case scenario is that I will need a C-Section. But here's the thing: a C-Section is not part of my plan for November. Here's what I'd envisioned:
Nov. 1-19- Continue teaching, comfortably. Swollen ankles are not going to work for me.
Nov. 20- Manicure, pedicure, haircut. Leisurely dinner with family. Maybe a movie-- I'm flexible.
Nov. 21- Water breaks in the morning, in the bathroom, so as not to damage the hardwood floors. Go to hospital. Labor for 15-20 min, then become 'comfortably numb'. Push twice. Out comes our perfect, potty trained child.
I am kidding... kinda. What I'm trying to say is that I have all this mapped out, and I like the way I've got it in my head. So today, at another ultrasound when the tech said my placenta still hasn't moved to the right spot, I got that familiar surge in my gut that said, 'Wait! This isn't part of the plan! There must be some way you can control this!'
Of course if a woman in her thirties knows one thing it's that there are many things in life she can't control. I never would have thought I would become a teacher, and yet it's the one career I've had that I feel really good at. I never would have planned my time in China, but in many ways it made me into the woman in her thirties I am. I'm not preaching about some Great Being here, I'm merely reflecting on the smallness of myself (despite gaining 19 pounds as of today).
So a woman in her thirties doesn't put away her to-do list, she puts it in perspective. My birth plan is now revised:
Today: Be thankful for this little face: