I Used to Have a Plan: But Life Had Other Ideas
“a pocket-sized paper embrace that will encourage all readers to find hope when life upends our schemes.”
Did you have a plan for 2020? Were there things you wanted to accomplish or places you wanted to go? Are you disillusioned because life hasn’t gone in the direction you hoped? If so, I Used to Have a Plan: But Life had Other Ideas by Alessandra Olanow is the book you need to lift your spirits in these uncertain times.
The book’s inside front jacket cover explains its purpose. “This book is a friend to those who need a little help getting through an experience that’s turned their life upside down.”
Don’t we all need a little friendship right now?
Delightfully illustrated, this charming gift book can bring a smile to those who are having a tough day. This isn’t a psychology book. There are no plans to implement or suggestions to follow. Rather, the book takes the place of a trusted friend who gently nudges you toward brighter thoughts.
Divided into five parts, each part has a different theme, though the themes are more general groupings of ideas than commentaries with a directed purpose.
The author suggests either reading the book through or opening it to a random page and breathing in the images and words. Both are useful ways to use the book, and having more than one way to be read, this flexibility gives the book life.
What kinds of ideas will you find in I Used to Have a Plan? Simple concepts of which we often need reminding. “Surrender.” “If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.” “Respect where you are.”
What makes those unassuming statements impactful is the way they are infused into the book’s illustrations. The images are soft and inviting, like a hug from a friend.
The book’s opening pages are important. They are an invitation to recognize our discomfort. Sometimes, life is challenging and we aren’t okay. We can acknowledge that and then move into action.
I Used to Have a Plan is about living in the messiness of life. It’s about the willingness to be vulnerable and dive into the unpredictability of our days. As Olanow says in the introduction, “This book is a tribute to letting go of [our] need for predictability and embracing life, with its twists and turns.”
The projections for our next few months suggest that we face some hard going. More disconnection, time away from friends and family, and many, many more difficulties. We all had plans for what 2020 and 2021 would look like. Those plans have changed. Our expectations have changed. Things are different now. Our lives are different now.
I Used to Have a Plan: But Life had Other Ideas encourages the reader to find hope. Even when dealing with the worst of life’s tragedies, there can still be room for light.
If you can afford it, send copies of Alessandra Olanow’s book to everyone you love who’s even the littlest bit bummed by lockdowns, mask mandates, economic downturn, and all the rest. It’s a pocket-sized paper embrace that will encourage all readers to find hope when life upends our schemes.