A new take on the old back-up plan

the_back_up_plan_still Last week I saw The Back-up Plan, the movie about an almost 40 year old pet shop owner named Zoe (played by the actually 40 Jennifer Lopez) who after years of searching for “the elusive one” finds herself single, childless and wanting badly to be neither.  According to Zoe’s plan A, by this age she was supposed to be happily “married with kids.”  But as the years rolled by with “hundreds of dates,” but no Mr. Right, Zoe decides it’s time to pull out the back up plan – you know, the plan you unfurl when “what you really want doesn’t happen.”  Throughout this week, we’ll touch on many of the topics in the movie (single moms, penis partners – their words not mine – biological clocks…) but today’s post is about looking at back-up plans through new eyes. (Image: CBS Films)

A few days ago I was having a conversation with a couple of the people on WAF’s virtual panel. We were talking about having our own businesses and planning for success, but having to adopt alternatives, or back-up plans, for those times when business was slow. One of the women in the group suggested that instead of viewing alternatives as back-up plans to be instituted as last ditch efforts in the face of impending failure, we should view them as one of multiple streams of income. That is, we should see freelancing, taking on contract work etc. as alternate streams of income that should be just as valued and respected as any other. I thought that was sound advice and as I was watching “The Back-up Plan” the movie, I thought that Zoe and many of us could use a re-imagining of our own real life back-up plans.

You know the old saying “we make our plans and God laughs”? If you’ve been around for 40 years you know there’s truth in that old saying. Sometimes even the best laid plans work out very differently than we imagined.  Since that’s the case, maybe it might be a good idea to approach our lives with the same multiple stream philosophy my friend suggested.  What if we didn’t insist that there was one outcome that would result in ultimate happiness and everything else would be a distant second, third, fourth and so on? What if instead we embraced the idea of multiple streams of happiness? Maybe we wanted the marriage, kids and picket fence, but it hasn’t happened. Instead of looking at the alternative as a step down, or a life less desired, what if we really valued and respected “alternative” streams of happiness regardless of the source?

There are pros and cons to every choice we make and for every outcome of  our life’s plan. The bottom line is, if we approach our “back-up plan” as though it’s less than – then in our minds that’s what it will always be.  One of my favorite  quotes is by Joseph Campbell and it says, “we must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” The life that’s waiting for us doesn’t always fit neatly into our plans and our timing, and maybe it’s a good thing it doesn’t.

Join the conversation this week as we discuss back-up plans, single motherhood, the elusive “one” and more.

What are your thoughts on back-up plans? Do/did you have one, and have you had to use it? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook fan page.

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