To my children: about Plan B

Sometimes, my darlings, you’re going to find yourself a sticky situation.  An unexpected turn of events.  A nasty surprise.

You’ve heard me say this before, I’m sure – way too many times – but over the years, I’ve learnt that there is only one way to insure yourself against Total Disaster.

Actually that’s not true.  There IS another way, but being the adventuresome, fearless progeny of mine that you are, I don’t think you’ll be interested.  Basically, it goes like this – if you don’t get in a car, you’ll never have a car accident.  Substitute ‘living’ for ‘driving’ and you’ll see what I mean.  Take no risks, pay no premium.

Anyway, I expect that you’ll charge into things much the way I did, hoping it’ll work out somehow.  I hitch-hiked around Europe, slept in parks, flew off to the US to visit a cocaine addict, ditched three secure jobs, a husband and countless boyfriends, moved country, moved to THE country.  I survived (sometimes, by the skin of my teeth, but still, here I am).  There was a lot of luck involved.  A LOT of luck.

Nowadays, I still leap in where angels run shrieking away – but always, always, with a Plan B.  Sometimes also C, D and E.  I ask myself ‘What’ll I do if this doesn’t work out?’ and ‘What’ll I do if the Worst actually does come to pass?’.  Say, I move to the country and can’t find a job, pay my mortgage or abide my chosen life partner?  I think about it, imagine the scenario – and make a plan.  No plan? No jump.

On the other hand, if the Worst does happen, there’s always – in my experience – a Save Me button.  As a person who regularly fucks up, I’ve used this often.  One of the reasons I left my last responsible job is that I don’t wanna be responsible – for another embarrassing cockup.  Like a wombat, you need three exits for every grand entrance. Now, when I get myself in a mess, I just pause for a sec and think – now let’s see.  What can be done about this?  There’s always something – even if it’s fronting up to the boss with ‘I’m really sorry, it was me.’  Last resort, obviously – but after all, they can only sack you.

It’s funny – I can’t play chess for the life of me, because I can’t see two moves ahead – but I have learned to play life.  I haven’t exactly won, but then I haven’t yet lost – and that’s the point of this unsolicited homily.  As the man said, life is what happens when you have other plans – so make sure you HAVE other plans – don’t let the bastards checkmate you, right?


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