After coming back to the hostel, it was time to assess my current situation and determine how bailing out on this venture in Spain would affect any future plans. My initial assessment was bleak and I was extremely frustrated at the thought of going back to the drawing board and figuring out what to do with myself for the next year while I plan for the Mongol Rally, not to mention the fact that I’ve could have spent more time in South America knowing this. I’ve been getting better at turning bleak situations around though and quickly turned to writing about the situation as a lesson for myself and for others who experience a plan falling through while on the road.
Lesson #1: Always trust your instincts – I’ve said this before in regards to relationships. After analyzing some of my past relationships, the thing I noticed with all of the negative ones is that I always had a gut feeling that I shouldn’t start anything with each particular guy. In hindsight, I always said, “I knew this was a bad idea, but I didn’t listen to my gut.” I think I’m old enough and have experienced enough now to feel confident that my subconscious is in tune with what’s happening around me. I need to trust and rely on my instincts more in these kinds of situations and this one with the placement program was no different. I felt the coordinator was being a bit evasive from the start and wasn’t sure if he was trustworthy.
Lesson #2: Accept that plans can fall through – I avoided spiraling myself into a great big frenzy of scrambling to try and “figure out” what I was going to do with my life by going for a cool-down walk when I noticed myself getting extremely frustrated. It’s natural to feel disappointed when a seemingly good plan falls through, but it often will happen because that’s life. No matter what you do, where you live, or where you work, a good plan is always bound to fall through. Accept, assess the situation and come up with a new one. It helps to keep your eyes open so that you’ll see that next door when it opens.
Lesson #3: Keep your eyes open for the opportunities a failed plan opens up – I can’t stress this enough! When a plan falls through or another ton of bricks comes crashing down on your world, the best way to cope with disappointment is keeping your eyes opened and looking at the possible opportunities that are opened up to you. I remember five years ago being in a relationship with a man who I was certain I would marry and with whom I’d settle down for a lifetime of happily ever after. This fantasy came screeching to a halt after one disastrous month and I was left broken-hearted in Baltimore. I was as crushed as one would expect and wasted precious moments hoping he would change his mind and feeling sorry for myself. The same week that this happened though, my boss told me that the office start-up in Amsterdam was definitely a go, and the company wanted me to move to Europe. This was always something I wanted to do but as of late, my head was on the wife and mother track. Now, feeling in a state of ‘Nothing to Lose’ I immediately accepted the offer and the travel beast lurking deep inside of me was reawakened. This one week set off a chain of events that led to the happiest moments of my life and led me to where I am right now and if you’re a regular here, you know I’m happy in this life. I hate admitting it but I can’t honestly say that if I hadn’t been dumped, I would have accepted the offer. All of this said, I think it’s so important to always be on the lookout for the opportunities presented by a negative impact situation.
Lesson #4: Focus on the positive – This goes hand-in-hand with Lesson #3, but I think this one refers more to proactively making lists of all the positive things that are currently happening as a result of the negative thing.