I bet you all (or at least most of you) know the Rolling Stones song: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Do you remember the refrain? It goes like this: “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you find you get what you need”. This song popped into my mind a couple of weeks ago when once again my plans were changed for me. I was left with no choice and had to accept this change of plans. Interestingly, once I did that a huge wave of relief washed over me.
First let me give you a little bit of recent history. I decided to move from a house on a beautiful but out of the way quiet street to a townhouse in a community closer to the center of town. I went on a tour of the community and loved everything about it. In full disclosure, it is not a 50+ community. There are houses, apartments, and townhouses. This is a vibrant community for the young and young-at-heart. It has beautiful landscaping, woodland trails (you know I love to walk in the woods), and sidewalks with lots of streetlights.
I was hooked. I love everything about this community. An additional bonus is that it is close (but not too close) to the highway and the shops I like to frequent.
I bought a yet to be built townhome in October of 2020. At that time, the proposed completion date was May/June 2021. As you know I am a professional organizer, so I got to work. I planned a visit to see my son and his family in Seattle in mid-March/early April and decided to put my house up for sale while I was out of town.
In my mind this was perfect. Miles and Josie (my dogs) would be out of the house at their boarding location. I would be out of town and wouldn’t have to rearrange my day to accommodate potential buyers. What could be better?
My plan worked. I went to Seattle in March, and I receive an offer on my house. This is what I wanted, right? Well, maybe not. I received word that the building at the new community was backed up. Some delays were weather related, some were Covid delays. My home was now scheduled to be ready in August, but my buyer wanted my current house in May.
What to do?
Moving Out – But Where?
I am an organizer, so I found a solution. I discovered a company called Hello Landing. They have rental properties in complexes all over the United States and it just so happened that they had a furnished unit for rent in an apartment complex directly across the street from the community in which I was building. Great!
My house sold, I put my furniture into storage, and moved into the furnished apartment. I brought everything I needed, or so I thought. August came and went. The builder had some supplier delays due to the Pandemic, some weather delays, and some worker shortage delays.
Change of Plans
My move in date was moved to November. This was not what I wanted but it was going to be fine. When I was with my son in Seattle, we made plans to gather for Christmas in Maui. I knew I would be ready for a beach vacation after moving. Plus, this was a plan to spend time in a beautiful place with my family.
The next change of plans came when my move-in date was changed to mid-December. I started to feel anxious. How was I going to move-in to the townhouse, move-out of the apartment, and pack for a vacation? I told myself I could handle it and arranged everything.
I arranged everything but the timing was very tight. It was hugely stressful to think about all the little details involved and keep the business running.
Here’s an article to read about organizing without getting overwhelmed.
Final Change of Plans
Then there was another change of plans. This time the closing date was moved to January, after my return from my vacation with my son and his family.
My first reaction was “NO!” This can’t be! Then I stopped to think about it. It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to move in, get my office set up, and be ready to hit the ground running after my vacation. But once I made the phone calls to reschedule movers and the other moving related deliveries I began to relax.
This was just what I needed. I didn’t need to try and do everything all at once. Although it wasn’t intentional, this delay gave me breathing room. I’ll go on vacation, have a wonderful time with my son and his family, and return refreshed and ready to tackle a move.
Accepting the change of plans was the best thing I could have done for myself.
The next time a change of plans is made for you stop and think if perhaps it is for the best. My initial reaction is usually to argue and want to keep things the way I have organized them to begin with. I am learning, though, that sometimes what I think I want is not always what I need.
This is the lesson I am taking with me as 2021 draws to a close and the lesson I want to share with you.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.
I have watched you as you traveled through all of these changes. I am in awe of how well you handled it.
I admire how you worked through the many changes in plans. These past few “COVID” years have required us to be even more flexible than usual, and all in the face of continuing uncertainty. There’s an expression that I often think of. It’s something like this- “Man plans, and God laughs.” Honestly, I get that. We can make amazingly detailed plans. And that’s all well and good. It’s helpful because we pre-think what might be needed, organized, and done for a particular project or event. However, everything rarely goes according to plan.
While I haven’t personally moved many times, I have hosted many gatherings. And when there are other people involved, something unexpected always happens. So the best I’ve been able to do is prep as best as possible, maintain my sense of humor, and ground myself. Most of the time, it works.
It sounds like you’ve found your way forward and will bring your “change of plans” learnings forward with you as you lean into 2022. Enjoy your vacation, time with your beautiful family, and the excitement of moving into your new home when you return.
Thank you so much, Linda. A sense of humor and the ability to shift are necessary ingredients to moving forward.
What a wonderful lesson to learn, Diane! There are times we all must be flexible. My mantra is, “my goal is set, but how I get there is flexible.” It allows me not to get fixed on the way I want it and to be open to the options that may replace the steps to achieve my goal.
Thank you, Sabrina. I love your mantra!
Wow, that sounds like a pretty rough experience. You are to be commended for flexing over and over again. Similar things are happening to so many people I know. Delays seem to be the name of the game. I give you a lot of credit for keeping your head and looking for the positive that could come out of each change.
Also, good to know about Hello Landing!
Hoping the move actually takes place in January and you can finally settle into your new home. And have a blast in Hawaii!!
Thank you, Seana. It has been a wild ride – that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to building sandcastles. Yes. Hello Landing was a really good find.
It does sound like the timing turned out for the best. Enjoy your new home after your warm family vacation.
You’re right the universe was trying to tell you something.
Thank you, Janet. I’m learning to listen more closely to the universe!
This is superb advice, and you are an excellent role model for rolling with all of these changes. I’ll admit, my number one character flaw is inflexibility. I hate unexpected changes, and I want to be able to control all of the outcomes — the what, where, when, and how — and the “why” is “because I want it that way!” But you’re right. Sometimes things turn out for the best even when they’re not at all what you expect. Your post reminded me of one of my favorite fables:
A farmer had a horse that the family depended upon to make a living. One day, the horse ran away and his neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
Eventually, the horse came back, leading some wild horses. The neighbors shouted, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
Later, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him, breaking his leg. The townspeople cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
A few weeks later, the king’s soldiers marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
Thank you for reminding us to roll with the punches!
Julie, I love that fable! Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment.