• Barb Mayfield

A Change of Plans

Updated: Sep 19


Have you ever had your heart set on doing something, or going somewhere, and BOOM, something happened that caused a change of plans? Yep. Me, too. Many times.


Recall the emotions… disappointment, anger, sadness, pain. Unmet expectations can be hard to deal with.


Reflecting back, how did it turn out? Do you have any examples of something better coming along that wouldn’t have been possible without that cancellation or change in plans? Yep. Me, too.


In fact, I just celebrated my 41st anniversary with someone I would have never met if all of my college freshman dreams had come true. How about you?


I’ve always been a firm believer in silver linings, and making lemonade when life hands you lemons. Experience has taught me to wait for the unexpected blessings.

There is no question we are all experiencing a huge, major change in plans. Life’s biggest events, like weddings and graduations, have been forced into Plan B, C, or D. Those are events one dreams about for a lifetime. A change in those plans can be especially difficult.


How will your summer be different… with no ball games, family trips, or summer camp? Are you lamenting this change in plans?


What can we do? In one word… improvise! To improvise means 1) to perform or deliver without previous preparation on the spur of the moment, and 2) to make or arrange from whatever materials are readily available. (1)


A guiding principle of applied improvisation works well in these current circumstances: To accept what is offered to us and run with it. The result – an outcome as good, if not better, than the script we originally wrote.


As we move into the summer of this upside-down year of 2020, we can consider the possibilities instead of dwell on the losses. We can improvise. As we accept what life offers, we build resilience. Research demonstrates resilience is associated with strong mental health (2).


The Mayo Clinic suggests 6 tips to build resilience (3). I list the tips below with an added thought or question to ponder. How do these tips speak to you?


Get connected. We all need support. Reach out. Who can you spend time with, even virtually?

Make every day meaningful. What can you do to give meaning and purpose to your day? How can you make a difference? Don’t underestimate the power of a small act of kindness.

Learn from experience. How have things worked out in the past?

Remain hopeful. As Annie says, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” We will get through this. What can you look forward to?

Take care of yourself. Healthy habits can have a positive ripple effect. Eat, sleep, and move in ways that promote your well-being. What can you do to demonstrate self-care?

Be proactive. Rather than despair about how things are, take a step to make the most out of the current situation. Has life handed you lemons? Make lemonade. Improvise.

Could we come out of this pandemic stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more grateful, and more resilient? What will you remember from this time in history? How will you be remembered?

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” ~ Ernest Hemingway


1. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/improvise

2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886914006710

3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/resilience-training/in-depth/resilience/art-20046311


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