I know this is a weird pic to accompany this post, but let me explain. I spent weeks, maybe months, planning for the perfect five-night cruise to Bermuda. I bought all of my essentials, and I coordinated my daily outfits. I bought new dresses, shoes, and swimsuits, I packed up all of my clothes, devices and accessories just perfectly, and I headed to the port. Upon arrival, we hand our suitcases off to the cruise staff, and grabbed our carry-on bags from the trunk. Wait…where is my carry-on bag??? And this is when all of my months of perfect planning completely fell apart. I DON’T HAVE MY CARRY ON BAG!!!
This meant no accouterments, no accessories, no belts, no make-up, no toiletries, no tablet, no chargers, no extra pair of sandals, no hoodie, no pashmina…none of it! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
So this picture is a picture that my neighbor sent asking if I meant to leave this bag on the porch. I literally walked out of the house, locked the door, and got in the car…WITHOUT MY BAG!
I’m not gonna lie…this effed up my whole entire mood for a solid day. And possibly part of another day. I whined about it to all that would listen, then eventually, after I’d gone on about it long enough, I decided that I didn’t want to look back on this trip as the trip that was f*cked up because I forgot a bag. Like…ok chick…get it together! This is a vacation. You paid GOOD MONEY for this trip! You’re going to Bermuda, you’re with family and friends, and you are off from work. Get over it!!! And eventually, I did. I got a toothbrush from a family member. I used my mom’s make-up, and bestie had a spare wristlet and some other items that I could use. And I just made do.
So my question is…how well do you adapt when things don’t go your way? How do you move forward when you plan and plan and plan, and something totally derails all of your efforts? What tricks or tips do you use to overcome disappointment and salvage your plans? Well…I clearly suck at it, and have no real advice for moving forward. So I scoured the internet for tips, and here is what I came up with:
Keep cool/breathe: There’s a pretty good chance that the issue at hand isn’t life threatening. Take a moment, calm yourself down, and take a deep breath.
Acknowledge that you are disappointed: It’s ok to be upset. Take time to grieve over what went wrong. You had your heart set on something that didn’t happen. And no matter how small or trivial it may be to others, it was important to you, and it didn’t work out. It’s ok to acknowledge that.
Forgive yourself: You’re human. Life happens and everyone makes mistakes. be ok with your humanness and accept that you did what you did…or didn’t do.
Accept what you cannot change: I had to tell myself, this trip five days, not a year. I have my clothes, I have my travel documents, and I have my medications. The extra bag was just extra items. I don’t need them to continue on with this trip, nor do I need them to have a good time. I couldn’t change what happened or what I didn’t have. I wasn’t able to purchase a majority of the items on the ship, and by the time I got to my cruise destination, the trip was more than half over, and buying the items on the island, if possible, wasn’t probably going to be worth it.
Assess what you can and cannot control: Now it’s time to switch into damage-control mode. Let’s start figuring out how to make the situation better. Or if there’s nothing that can be done, it’s time to figure out how you can change your mindset to move past what happened. I could not control the past, but I could control what happened going forward on my trip. Take control of what you can, and release that which you cannot control. I had the sun, I had good people around me, and I had wine. And for most people, that all adds up to a good time. So I made the decision that that was going to be the case for me as well.
Revise your goal: Once you’ve explored your options, figure out the new goal. decide what you want out of your experience. For me, I knew that I didn’t want to remember this vacation as the trip where I left my bag at home. I wanted to have a good time, relax, and enjoy my family and friends. I revised my mindset so that the bag was less important for accomplishing that goal.
Determine your options: Figure out what’s important to try to fix and what you have to scrap. I had to realize that I just wasn’t going to have my lysol wipes, my statement necklaces, and my new blush. But I was able to buy a necklace in the gift shop that I really liked, I’d have to accept that the room steward cleaned the room sufficiently, and I used my mom’s red lipgloss as blush. Somehow it all worked.
Assess your resources: Who or what is available to help you cope and come up with solutions? I knew that the ship’s shops were not going to be a huge help. Their game is souvenirs, not drug store goods. And what they did have, I knew would be dramatically overpriced. I knew also that the store didn’t even open until we were in international waters, and I knew that wouldn’t happen until the cruise was a day into the itinerary. I knew that our plans were so tight on the island, and could not guarantee that I’d even find the kind of store that would have the kind of things I needed. So for me, my resource options were limited.
Lean on others for help: Figure out who is willing and able to help you and how. Lucky for me, I travel with over-packers. One of my relatives had some extra toiletries, my mom had some make-up, my bestie had some accessories and necessities that I could use. I made it work.
Execute your new plan: Move forward with your revised plan. The plan has changed, there’s a new goal. Revise your actions to accommodate the change. For me, when I dressed for dinner and such, I had to include a 10 minute window for going to my mom’s room to get make-up, and my bestie’s room to get accessories. It wasn’t the end of the world, and I had to accept that.
Have you found yourself in a situation where something went dramatically different from how you planned it? Were you able to roll with the punches or did you completely fall apart? Let me know what happened and how you dealt with it. Or…if you have some advice to share, feel free to leave a comment!