Off the Rails

I am often surprised to find that we humans are surprised when things don’t go as planned. We are all susceptible to it. We have these ideas in our collective minds of how things should proceed in life. It’s always orderly and good. Unless you are a pessimist, you tend not to plan for the worst. But the reality is, seldom do things go as planned. They are likely to be off-the-rails far more than on them. Our memory is short, and we somehow manage to forget all the things that have gone wrong in the past, so each time, it’s a massive surprise.

 The village of Monieux

The village of Monieux

I am beginning to figure out how to embrace the unusual, the unplanned and the unforeseen. Because in fact, this is the reality of life. No matter how hard we try, we organize, or we plan, we actually have control over very little. All we can control is how we manage these things when they present themselves.

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In my memory, things in Provence have always seemed to be practically perfect. And sometimes they have been. But when I really look back and see things without rose-coloured glasses, there have been many, many times things haven’t gone smoothly. This gives me comfort. Sometimes we get so stuck on the idea of perfection, it makes things harder to accept when they are less than ideal. But imperfection might be one of the most interesting things in our lives—and you often end up with some pretty great stories out of it.

I have said before, 2018 has been a harrowing year, challenge after challenge on so many fronts. Alas, 2018 has continued in fine form with a constant barrage of things going, well, just like 2018. Jason arrived this week and while his flights went smoothly without delay, his luggage did not cooperate. We must have bad luggage karma. I waited for almost two hours for him to emerge from the baggage claim with no bicycle in sight. This is the second time his bike has not arrived with him and we are beginning to think of it as the Marseille airport curse! The agent was very helpful but sadly had no idea where his bag was. He didn’t think we’d see it for a few days at least. Sigh. So, we went home, called the airline and gave more details in hopes it would expedite the situation. By morning there had been movement on his case file, and they had an approximate delivery date. It was later than we hoped but at least they located it and it seemed on its way. Later that day my phone rang, and it was the courier service; they were on our road but couldn’t find us. I delivered clear instructions, et voilà, the bicycle was in hand just over 24 hours after it went missing. 

But of course, the weather turned as soon as the bike was ready, and the Mistral arrived with cooler temps than I’ve ever experienced here in Provence this time of year. So, what did we do? We rode, we ate inside, and we rolled with the punches. It’s really not all that bad, but for some reason the lack of perfection makes us feel like there must be something wrong. Like it’s a sign from the universe we shouldn’t be here or be doing what we are. We automatically assume the end of the world is nigh. But if we step back, we’ll find this is more normal than not. It’s not some big message from a sky wizard, it’s just life. Life is always an uncertain moving target. It’s often when things don’t go as planned we end up finding a route we never thought of before, our creativity spikes and we learn a lot about ourselves and what we are capable of. It might be the best thing for us in the end.

 The perched village of Brantes.

The perched village of Brantes.