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Gaining flexibility

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ne year, 52 weeks, 366 days. It’s been a couple of weeks since that mark for Reilly and I. Is it possible for a time period to be simultaneously easy and difficult? It’s kind of like “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” but rather than Charles Dickens’ meditation on class disparities, this took place within the same household, within the same person.

After the exhausting months leading up to the wedding, we were looking forward to a week away to just relax, only — like most vacations — it wasn’t all that relaxing. It was nearly four days of travel and five days of eating all we could eat, seeing all we could see and desperately conserving battery life.

Yes, we were those tourists that forgot to prepare for the European plugs. Honestly, I didn’t regret that though. We were forced to unplug, which is part of the reason I wanted to go out of the country to begin with.

We came back probably more tired than before, but we were married. That was all that mattered at that point. We were ready to settle into our routine, maybe save up for another energy depleting vacation or at least buy some furniture for the house. We had plans, but they were five, 10-year plans. We just wanted to enjoy our time together.

But as the old cliche goes, if you want to make God laugh, show him your plans. It’s a Woody Allen quote, but it’s based off an old Yiddish proverb. The fact is planning can be extremely satisfying (I can’t be the only one), but sometimes going off script isn’t so bad.

Reilly and I had been married about a month when we found out Helen was on her way. I wouldn’t say I was in denial, but I certainly struggled over the fact that my life plan had just been tossed out.

Planning wasn’t a problem for me, but overcoming the anxiety when something didn’t go according to plan was. It was something I knew was a problem, but I had done little if anything to fix it. In fact, someone once told me I needed to deal with it before I had kids because even the best-laid plans can be waylaid by a toddler.

But I wasn’t having kids until I was 29, so I had five years to deal with it, right? Big, fat wrong.

I love to get stuff done. Seeing a to do list with tiny check marks is as exciting for me as when others indulge in their favorite pie. But I’m also a procrastinator. If I know someone’s coming to my house at 5, I’ll wait until 4:30 to start cleaning up. If nothing goes wrong, I have just enough time to get it done. But since I leave little room for error, it sometimes puts me in a pinch. And improving myself? Well, that’s something best left for the first few weeks of the year.

Reilly is my opposite in nearly every way but especially when it comes to planning. He gladly handed me the reins when planning our honeymoon. He has goals for the future, but he is more nonchalant about them. If he gets there, great; if not, well, that’s fine, too.

So, there I was not nearly ready for what was about to come. I cycled through multiple plans, and then it hit me.

Well, Reilly hit me with it. He looked at me, and he said, “I don’t care what our life looks like in 10 years. I just want to come home to you and have a happy, healthy baby.”

He made me realize I couldn’t plan. I could have goals. I could have steps to achieve those goals, but sometimes goals change. Sometimes, more important things come up. Sometimes, more important things change your perspective. Sometimes choosing to live in the moment, savor the moment is the most important plan of all.

Julia Miller is the lifestyles editor at The Daily Leader. She can be contacted at julia.miller@dailyleader.com.