An old acquantaince once told me a joke: “How do you make God laugh?…Tell him your plans.”
At the time I found the saying really annoying (I still do). Partly because my beliefs (and let’s not get into those), don’t extend to a God who would be so petty. But also, the phrase seems terribly defeatist. What does it mean? That we should just lie down and give up our hopes and dreams because nothing will go to plan? Imagine the crap-fest we’d be in if everyone thought that way.
Now, many years later and two years into an overseas moving plan that was supposed to take one, I’m looking at that joke from a different angle. I still don’t believe in a petty God, but I’m starting to think there’s something to be said for a dream that doesn’t come easily. Our overseas move is the perfect example.
We started with Plan A. Namely: 1. Get the house ready to sell. 2. Sell the house and move the money over to the UK before the exchange rate could fall. 3. Buy a house over there. Easy-peasy. Up until we made that decision, the exchange rate was holding pretty steady. Within several weeks the exchange rate fell by 5 pence to the dollar — a massive drop.
We considered Plan B. Sell the house and buy an investment property here, using the revenue to save a deposit for a house in the UK while we rented. Unfortunately the week we put the house on the market, a whole new section of our estate opened up with house and land packages for sale. No one was interested in buying someone else’s house when they could build the one they wanted brand new. The house sat on the market for seven months without interest.
Around this point, my husband and I decided to have a house meeting. Really it was a good excuse to open a couple of bottles of wine (red for him, bubbles for me) and a couple of packets of Lindt, and commiserate over the mess we were in. Our UK family members weren’t getting any younger. It was time to go home…but how could we get there if the house wasn’t going to sell? The universe seemed to be telling us we weren’t supposed to go.
We sat there a while longer — wine in one hand, forehead in the other — and despaired. Then we had an idea. Maybe the universe didn’t know how much we wanted to go home. What if we just bought the flights and then found a way — by hook or by crook — to get to the UK? Brilliant! So we did. We bought those tickets.
Flash forward six months and here we are. I’m not going to deny the last few months haven’t been a crazy hot mess of flying by the seats of our pants and taking ourselves to the edge of our limits, in every way. Plan C has given way to D and now I’ve lost track of which plan we’re up to. That said, we’re eight weeks away from the move and it’s going to be tight, but by George, I think we may just pull this sucker off.
Which takes me back to that saying which annoyed me so much. Maybe the prospect of failed plans aren’t an excuse to give up without trying. Maybe they give people who desperately want to achieve something, a reason to work harder and find the means of breaking through.
I’m going to take the optimist’s view on this one, and leave you with my favourite “We can do it!” song: