The Life We Planned

Get rid of the life we planned

For the new year, we thought it would be fun to encourage each other by sharing some of our favorite inspirational quotes and what they mean to us.  So I’m kicking it off with this one by Joseph Campbell.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”   ― Joseph Campbell

I’m not the world’s most organized planner.

I was chatting with a friend over the holidays and she was shocked to find out that I don’t have a system in place for planning and organizing tasks, that I don’t write resolutions or set many goals.  I’m often a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of a gal, way more of a doer than a planner.

I carry a compass, not a map.

So this quote is easy for me to rally around.  Yeah!  Get rid of all that planning and just go for it!

When actually, that’s not what he’s saying at all.  Although Joseph Campbell believed in following your heart and passion, this quote is really more about expectations.

It’s not a New Year’s excuse for lack of planning.  It’s about letting go of the way we expect our lives to turn out and embracing the beauty of what actually is.

Life rarely unfolds the way we think it will.  I can rarely get through a day without some detour I didn’t plan to take like:

  • two lunches to pack while staring at an empty fridge because I didn’t go to the store
  • a dog changing her mind about all that lunch she just ate, at the very second I’m running out the door to an important meeting
  • a pee soaked bed at the end of a holiday company spree and washing the sheets for the fifth time in two weeks
  • that nicely organized tray of 752 (teeny tiny, itty bitty) lego pieces, all sorted into bowls, that goes flying into the air by one small mis-judgement in elbow placement

All of these little detours are an invitation to accept what is.  They are invitations to make something beautiful of the new reality.

  • to introduce a new food to the lunch box of a child (pretzels and peanut butter anyone?)
  • to show up with more humanity and empathy at the meeting that might have been a little stuffy
  • to ask my son to help a mama out and make the bed together, ending up in a tickle fight full of laughter
  • to shriek and scream with instant frustration creating an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and model humility, providing an unexpected moment of human connection

Getting rid of the good life we planned is certainly a lot easier said than done. Especially when it comes to the bigger things in life. Things like a marriage ending, a loved one passing away, a friendship fading, a business failing, an ill child or the loss of a job.

Letting go of the things we planned might not make it easier, but it brings peace .  We create hope when we look for beauty in the reality of what is.

In 2015 let’s get rid of our plans, so we can have the life that is even better than we planned.

I’m all in!  You with me?

To more Love,


P. S.  Here’s an interesting tidbit.  That fun painting under the quote is a nice reminder to me of letting go of our plans.  When my husband was learning to paint with oils, they were using that canvas to practice mixing colors with different application techniques.  They were going to trash it .  So I intervened and adopted it for my office.  It’s not what they planned, but it’s beautiful!


  1. What a wonderful way to approach life…at least some of the time…(I’m a strategist and a planner and probably need a bit more ‘go with it’ in my life). And, I love what you did saving that picture!

    1. You’re right Glenna! It’s certainly not an all-the-time mode, to just “go with it”. I’m always pushing myself to plan more. 😉

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