Often, when our lives are not going the way we anticipated, we get into a mind-set that we just need to get through the rough spot before we return to the status quo to which we have become accustomed. We think we can just wait out the difficult patch. When we have an exam or a work deadline looming, we may coach ourselves to rally to a level of high performance that involves long hours, little sleep, and rigorous intellectual effort, knowing that this surge will be time-limited. But in many cases, the changes we are experiencing are such that we need to accept that the departure from our comfortable routine may be long-term or even permanent: we have embarked on a new course.
It can be tempting to see major and minor bumps as “detours,” but I think it is more helpful to see them as part of our lives. Sometimes the road we are traveling is unexpected or undesired, but it is still our road. Most significant challenges aren’t merely a brief bypass that returns us to our regular lives. We are on a new path that is our real life, bumps and all. Even if things go back to “normal” after a crisis, we are still changed simply from going through the experience.
As is often said, only our expectations can cause us disappointment. In order to cope with turns in our roads, we may need to revise our assumptions. If we move through our lives with hard and fast expectations, we can have a lifetime of disappointments. So many things can intervene in our journey or disrupt our carefully laid plans. The better we can experience the present without an eye toward an expectation that may or may not happen, the less likely we will be disappointed when our route is redirected.