When I was young, there was a tv show that we used to watch called "One Day At a Time" starring a (very young) Valerie Bertinelli and a (not-so-sober it now turns out) Mackenzie Philipps and the ever-delightful Bonnie Franklin. And as much as I longed for my very short, very curly hair to look even the tiniest bit like the aforementioned Ms. Bertinelli, I was sadly out of luck. But what I could do was sing along to the theme song which, to this day, pops into my head every once in a while like it did this morning.
"This is it. This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball.This is it. Straight ahead and rest assured you can't be sure at all.
So while you're here enjoy the view. Keep on doing what you do.
Hold on tight, we'll muddle through, one day at a time."
Ah those 70's show lyrics. Those little dittys get stuck in our minds and we can't seem to get them out. But maybe we're not supposed to. Maybe they're supposed to get stuck so we stop and think about them for just a minute. Lyrics, if done right, are supposed to speak to you and mean something to you and get you to take a moment in your life and just be still.
So today those lyrics are sticking with me because I'm a planner. I like things to be orderly and ready to go. I like to plan for what's going to happen next and what will happen after that. But the funny thing about life is that, just as nature abhors a vacuum, life seems to abhor planning. Because you can only plan for so much and then you just have to "hold on tight and muddle through one day at a time."
Things in my life are in a bit of an upheaval. For 9 years I worked on the case that went to trial earlier this year. I knew everything about everything. I planned for how the trial would proceed each day, I planned what questions I would ask and what documents I would use and what I would wear and how I would do my hair and what shoes would last me day-in-and-day-out for months at a time. I thought it all through and carried it out and at the end I was stunned at the result. Because as the trial moved along and as the jury deliberated and as the days passed, I was more and more sure that we had won. And then we didn't. And things got tricky.
Because my plans for my life post-trial, my wishing and hoping and praying for a good outcome, were turned topsy-turvy by not winning the case. I had never considered what would happen if we did not win, I just considered what would happen when we won. So now my life is uncertain and uncomfortable and I'm just holding on to see what happens next. I'm trying to get back on track and get my family law practice back in the swing of things and catch up with friends and catch up with my life. This uncertainty, this uncomfortabilty with what could be and may be, is new to me and not so delightful. But maybe that's one of the lessons I need to learn. "To hold on tight and muddle through" and to do so "one day at a time". To see what happens just for today and then do the same for tomorrow.
And maybe the lesson is that planning is just fine, but you can also plan for uncertainty. You can know that you will be ok even if the plans don't turn out exactly right. You can learn that an apple pie gone awry is a delicious apple crisp. A painful divorce leads you to discover who you were hidden beneath the drama of a not-so-perfect marriage. Mistakes made today are inspiration for tomorrow. And really, life without mistakes wouldn't be nearly as interesting. Life without a change in plans would be stale and disappointing. Maybe the lesson is that what we don't plan for leads us right where we need to be. Maybe the lesson is that loosening our grasp on our plans allows us to be more adaptable. Maybe the curve balls thrown are better than our plans; we just can't see it today. We just have to hope that it's right. We just have to have faith that things will turn out ok, even if we don't know it right now.
After all, this is the life.