Thursday, 27 November 2014

When your plans just don't work out

When things don’t go the way you planned them to, how do you get yourself out of the rut?

This week just gone we were supposed to have our family camping holiday at Brunswick Heads, a gorgeous little coastal town in northern New South Wales. We had spent the last few weeks planning what to take, and spent the last few days packing and repacking. We drove the four and a half hours to get there, excited the whole way about what the week would bring. We arrived and the sun was out, the water looked gorgeous and our camp site was perfectly situated, right on the water. We hurried out of the car to stretch our legs and have a look around, Alexander ran around excitedly and I was eager for our holiday to kick off. We had noticed it was a little windier than we had anticipated but didn't really think too much of it.

 Alexander and Steve about to have a quick swim

So we started unpacking…. We unrolled the tent, only to have the fly blow away (insert image of me chasing after the fly which acted more like a giant parachute…). Packed the fly safely in the car until we were ready for it and started setting up the tent. That didn’t take too long – we have done it a few times before and Alexander even wanted to help. Once the tent was up we gained a better understanding of just how windy it really was. The wind was blowing so hard the tent was bent on a 45 degree angle. Hmmm…. I’m not one to give up that easily so we persevered. Threw a few items into the tent (these will help weigh it down, surely), set up Alexander’s cot because I knew it would be nap time soon for him after running around like crazy, and then took a break and went for a swim, hoping that by the time we were done the wind would have settled a bit. Big mistake. We came back up to the tent to find it, and everything that was inside, full of sand. Urgh!!! We thought we would put the fly on to stop the sand coming in, and hopefully just ride out the wind. After an hour of fighting with the fly, pegs being pulled out because of the force of the wind gusts under the fly, and tears starting to form in the tent we decided to call it. The forecast was predicting wind all week and a little rain. I was devastated. We had this trip planned for months and months. We had been talking about camping here all year. Now we had to pack up and go home because of the wind?? I was not happy.

Alexander trying to help me set up the tent - if only it was as calm as the picture looks.

I (hopefully understandably) became quite cranky and upset. We had worked all of this into our budget, knowing things were going to be a little tighter coming up to Christmas. We had taken this time off work specifically for this holiday (because we have penalty rates – taking holidays for us means being paid base rate which is usually around half of what we would normally get paid). We had also just spent around $70 in diesel getting here and would cost us the same to get back. Alexander was clearly having a blast, loving the water and loving being outdoors, now he had to go back into a car and drive another four and a half hours home. Steve and I were both looking forward to our lovely days by the water, fishing, relaxing of an evening with a glass of wine and some lovely soft cheese. I was in a mood and in a rut and I didn't know how to get out of it.

After repacking the car in almost silence, we all climbed back in and set off for home. I asked Steve to stop at one of the service stations on the way back, they have a Krispy Kreme store and I figured I’d just make myself feel better with doughnuts. (They were delicious and did everything but make me feel better). We didn't talk much except for the occasional dig at how unfair it was that this happened and how upset we were. After about an hour and a half of driving like this I realised I had enough. Was I really just going to spend the next week of my holidays wallowing in self-pity over what could have been a fantastic holiday? Was I going to be grumpy and whingey? No way! What example is that setting for Alexander? How could that be healthy for me to be so upset and angry for that long? Not going to happen.

I had two things that I need to think about and overcome. The fact that our camping set up wasn’t exactly weather resistant and what could we do to make it more so for future camping trips and what could we do this coming week that would be enjoyable and fun and make up for the fact that we weren't away for our holidays.

After talking about our camping set up we decided to save up and buy ourselves a camper trailer. It would be far more weather resistant and with Alexander growing up, would provide us with more space for him and ourselves. This was a massive turn around for us in attitude. We became positive and motivated to have our new camping set up. I researched while Steve was driving and within minutes I could feel the mood shift and our positivity start to come back. We also started talking about what we could do this week – Steve and I had our first yoga class last week and decided to go again, we thought we could spend some time at home getting a little more organised around the house, we could go to my parents place and have afternoon swims in the pool and best of all, we could just spend time together as a family.

It’s easy to get into a rut when your plans don’t work out. Especially when plan A, plan B, plan C and plan D all fall through. I've been there. It can leave you frazzled, without direction and without any motivation to keep going. I believe it is also important to acknowledge that it really does suck that your plan didn't work. Get a little annoyed and get a little cranky, then move forward. If we constantly walk around with a ‘la de da’ ‘everything will be fine’ attitude we can find that when we do burn out, we crash hard. If we acknowledge the crappiness of the situation at the time, we don’t allow it to build and fester. We can move on knowing we have dealt with it. For us it was as simple as being moody for a while then asking the question ‘So what do we do about it?’ What about you? How do you move forward when your plans fall through?