…of mice and men often go astray, and best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” – from the Poem by Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”
Things can often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do.
NASA launched a rocket today filled with supplies and experiments headed to the International Space Station. Twitter lit up with tweets about where to look in the sky after the launch. Alarms were set and countdowns were made. And then the launch.
The rocket blew up shortly after take off. All that work. Five thousand pounds of supplies and gear—poof. Fortunately there was no loss of human life, but my heart aches just thinking about all that PLANNING.
I was talking with a group of musician colleagues the other day. We were talking about what it meant to be “tour ready”. I mentioned my lists: what to pack, what to play, where to stay, where to eat, what CDs to bring, set lists, rehearsal schedules, load-in times. And then there was laughter. Because we all know what it means to have “the best laid plans.” My experience tells me that inevitably things will not go as planned. I’ll get lost. A flight might be late. My rental car might break down. The tech crew won’t be ready for my arrival. The hotel clerk won’t have any record of my reservation. All this despite my lists and my attention to detail.
It’s not what happens to us in our lives that counts, but how we react to the things that happen. I am embarrassed to say that I did not always handle unexpected changes with grace. I cursed under my breath, I was rude to the airline reservations clerk, I was annoyed by the long line at the rental car counter. But now? Now I breathe. Now I see that changes occur and these changes do not have to lead to upset, but, rather, to another experience. I don’t know ahead of time what that experience will be, but now I know I am up for it.
I hope everyone at NASA will breathe, recover and simple try again.