“So, wife, mama, photog…freefall? Why did you put freefall?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t know, I kind of didn’t know what else to put and it sounded right at the time,” I replied almost sheepishly.
“Awwwww, it’s because you LOVE Tom Petty!” he exclaimed.
“Well, sure, I mean who doesn’t?” relieved I had at least said something.
While I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like Tom Petty, but about an hour later we went to the gym, and as I was running my laps (listening to Ty Dolla $ign now) this question kept popping up.
Why did I write freefall? Why do I feel like freefall fits me right now?
Plans. I have no plans. And it feels foreign to me.
For most of my life, I plannnned out like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve always loved lists, and being prepared. When I was in fifth grade, I started laying out what I was going to wear for school the night before–from socks to hairbands.
As I got older, the plans got more detailed and more long term. Entering my freshman year of college was probably the start of my planning-panic-attacking. I was interning at our county courthouse and one of the clerks that worked there asked me what I was majoring in, and what I wanted to do. She was just being nice and making conversation, but I literally told her: (this is practically verbatim…)
“Well, I’m going to go to college now and get my BA, and then work for a few years, and then get married and have kids, and then raise the kids at home until they’re old enough for school, and then when they’re at school, I’ll work part time so I can still be home when they are.”
This chick was really sweet, and she just kind of blinked at me and said a bunch of nice things about me being ambitious and knowing what I wanted and soforth. I really just wish she would have said what her facial expression said–that I was nuts, and you can’t plan out your life in FIFTEEN YEAR INCREMENTS. It doesn’t work.
I made no room for changes. No room for new interests or dreams. I had it all planned out, and if it just went according to plan, I’d be successful, happy, and well, “finished exactly how I wanted to end up.”
Big surprise, it didn’t work out. Here are some things that I couldn’t forsee, but kept throwing me off my “perfect” course:
* I changed my major twice after finding out that math requirements were hell on wheels.
* I discovered that technology could be a friend to artists.
* I didn’t know I’d be a military wife, and all the joys and challenges that come with it.
* I started working full time for the military the week after I graduated high school.
* My husband and I decided to get married before we graduated college. (Life’s short!)
* We bought a house at ages 19 and 20, with NO financial help from anyone.
* When most people were graduating with their BA, I was a first time mom.
* When most people were getting their MA, I was pregnant with our second boy.
* Eventually I DID graduate with my BA in CCJ/counseling minor. Win.
* I started taking classes that dealt with art and technology (cue new career).
* I became super interested in doing my own thing and working for myself.
* I took the kids out of private school to home school them.
* I held down the fort during four deployments with two babies and a business.
* After the last deployment, we totally rearranged our lifestyle.
Did you see what happened here? I accomplished all I set out to do, I just did it completely out of order! I was so focused on the next step on the list, I left out room for learning new enjoyments, or falling in love with someone that would travel or serve our country. I discovered the satisfaction of teaching my children to read, or to try to not hate art class so much. We discovered that we valued freedom more than having the old American dream of “big house, luxury car” and found out payments aren’t fun–freedom is! We adopted a minimalist lifestyle to spend more time together and less time working. This is totally opposite from the life I’d envisioned before. A life I thought I wanted so badly that early on I’d start panicking if things weren’t going right for my end result. I know other people can manage to work and build a portfolio, but personally it makes my skin crawl thinking back to when I was owned for eight hours a day with no personal phone calls and toe-tapping lunch breaks. There are so many companies that don’t know how to run a company that hires people, like, real-live humans that have needs other than to just be “lucky to work” and other stupid shit they say. How about…you can keep your pittance of a paycheck and instead of being poor and stressed, I’ll go be poor and have free time. HOW BOW DAH.
In short, I’d be missing out on a lot of great experiences and awakenings. These rigid plans can put life in a box. You cannot live in a box. It’s not healthy for your mental state. My fifteen year plan was totally torn apart and given to me in pieces. And it’s served me much, much better that way. My personality is too wonky to have it any other way.
This took about 7 years to work this all out. There was a lot of re-configuring. A lot of Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, before I finally just turned it over to God and said
“Fine! This isn’t working! I’m not in control, You are, just please fix this mess!”
Every day I see Him fixing my mess, making small miracles that add up to a beautiful picture of our life together. I cannot fix my life alone. I cannot change myself and my environment alone. This life is far too complicated to think you can actually control it. We are mere humans, and life will happen to us, change will happen, unpredictable events will happen, and you will drive yourself insane digging your heels in and not being flexible.
Letting go of the control you think you have brings you a marvelous peace. It’s God with you saying that He’s got you, just listen. Make your footsteps slowly, and enjoy them. Letting go lets you realize it’s more fun this way, even if it is foreign. Sure it takes some getting used to, but all good things take time. Letting go brings more fullness to your life, you can F R E E F A L L into so much more than you dreamed.