We all have a blueprint for our life. Have you imagined the future as: married, good job, home, kids, and then surrounded by grandchildren, a secure retirement where you both travel the world together? But sometimes life happens, divorce or disasters crush those dreams. Our blueprints are torn up and now our future is changed. This is painful, it is suffering. We are forced to build a different life blueprint, one we did not want and we wonder if we can ever find happiness again.
My father was a house builder who knew about blueprints. Once, he bought a nice big property hoping to take advantage of the great view. He for a bungalow drawn up believing it would sell best. When the basement was dug, they discovered a natural spring right under it. My father consulted with others and decided to slightly relocate the house, make it a two storey with a smaller basement and float a concrete pad under it. It meant new blueprints, to especially optimize the view from the 2nd floor. It turned out to be a huge selling feature of the house. Sometimes, the unexpected happens and forces us to change our blueprints. But his goal was to have a great view and he still got it, and sold it quickly.
A friend of mine, lets call her Sue, met her professional athlete husband when she was a gym teacher. At the age of 48, he died suddenly of brain cancer, leaving her to raise 2 teenage sons alone. Her blueprint for their future had been that one day, their sons and future families would spend summers at their vacation cottage, water-skiing and barbecuing. They would retire and teach third-world kids in sport camps and winter in Arizona, playing golf and dining with friends. Their goals were family, travel, to give, self-improvement in sports and a social life.
Now, in all the grief, she felt like giving up, and resented that tragedy destroyed their future and there was nothing she could do about it. But one day, she realized she still had lot of life ahead and so did her sons. She could not go back to their old blueprint but it was up to her to find a new blueprint to rebuild a life for them all. She looked at what she really wanted, her purposes and goals behind their old blueprint. It was family love, togetherness, activity and meaningful living. She resolved to create a new blueprint to still get those goals for happiness as best she could.
To do that, she poured her energies into helping her sons get launched in life, and doing it as a family, supporting them in sports and school. She eventually bought a vacation condo with space for her sons to stay and they swim and hike together. She became a real estate agent and joined a mountain hiking club where she made new single friends and has a social life. When her sons were older, she volunteered in local sport camps for inner city kids, which gave more meaning to her life. Her friends call her an inspiration in how she has overcome challenges while contributing to the lives of others.
Her original life blueprint was destroyed but even though it was tough, she discovered a way to achieve those old values with a new blueprint. She found ways to build family, to give, to grow and to love and embraced it. Now, 15 years later, she has a “happy, rich and rewarding life” although different then expected. Along the way, she also discovered she was more then what happens in life.
You and I may have had tragedy destroy our life blueprints. It is painful to let go of cherished dreams but when we look behind our blueprint and rebuild with our values and goals, we can create a new blueprint for happiness. Like Sue, we too, can build a “happy, rich and rewarding life", although different then expected.
Big hugs and love,
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