The best laid plans

Making plans is all well and good, until life decides to throw you a curve ball…. that is a whole new story

Photo by samer daboul on

Fail to plan, then plan to fail…. that is how the saying goes, right?

I have always lived by this motto, to a certain degree anyway. I always like to have a plan or a project, a goal to work towards. Whether it be skill based, knowledge based or pleasure based, like going on a nice little week-end away or holiday.

I like to keep evolving, growing and developing one way or another and I encourage those around me to do the same. At the same time, however, I like to be spontaneous, dive in, take a risk. Some you win, some you lose, but at least you tried.

I would rather fail by trying than regret that I didn’t try.

Years ago, my husband and I decided to try to invest. We had a lot of equity in our home and well, it was boom time, so we thought we would release some equity and buy another property abroad as an investment for our future and for our children.

Long story short, we handed over our cash to our Solicitor, who also happened to be the developer of the property we were buying. He is now very famous, here in Ireland. michael lynn, Solicitor, Developer, Gangster. He took our money and that was the last we saw of it. He did a runner with our money, the full purchase price of the ‘property’ we were buying, that of other ‘victims’ and lots of financial institutions.

We tried to be savvy, we thought we could invest in our future. We understood property value could go up or down and it was a risk we were willing to take. We thought we could trust a Solicitor. We were wrong. Having fled the country for a good few years, hiding from what he had done, he is now back, after being extradited from Brazil. I think he thought he was Johnny Briggs. He certainly seemed to want his notoriety.

That was a long time ago now, 2007, and we are still paying for that risk, but we survive. ‘We have our health, we have our home, the kids are healthy’ are what I said to my husband at the time it happened, ‘it’s only money’. We had both worked hard for what we have. I meant it. As difficult as it was to loose such a large amount of money and a picture of future we had envisioned, I had to look at what we still had.

‘Your health is your wealth’, is another saying and I would hear my parents say it all the time. They are right. If you have health, you have everything. No amount of money can replace it. Now of course, we expect, as we get older, for our health to let us down and fail us somewhat, so we have a responsibility to ourselves to not abuse our bodies with the wrong food or total lack of exercise.

We have a responsibility to not indulge in the excess. Everything in moderation, as it were. That includes stress. We all need a certain amount of stress, that is healthy, but stress in the excess, can cause untold damage to us and we may not even realise it, until it is too late.

So how do we know if we have too much stress. How do we know how much stress is healthy stress. Getting on with our day to day lives. Working, eating, relaxing, exercising, sleeping and repeat, over and over and over until one day, whilst doing this, you start to get aches and pains, you feel a little bit more sluggish. You want an extra 5 minutes in bed. Is that the time to say, enough is enough. I am over stressed.

Tell tell signs, are they always there? My husband had been feeling stressed lately, more so than usual at work especially, lots of pressures going on there. He felt so stressed he began to get chest pains, which lead to a doctor’s appointment, which lead to a hospital admission, which has lead to needing surgery, cardiac surgery. What a shock it has been for him, for me, for all who know him.

He is not yet even 60. We had made plans of what our future would look like when he retires. We hadn’t anticipated or bargained that he would ever suffer with poor health, not at this age. We thought we were clever. We thought that we had our plans for the future sorted and what we would do when he retired. He was planning on retiring a few years before retirement age, maybe 62. We thought that from that age and for the next 10 years after we would seek out an adventure and go travelling and/or trying living in another country for a while.

Having cardiac issues was not on our radar, at all. It is not predominant in his family history. His parents were in their 80’s before they needed any sort of health intervention. He is in his 50’s.

The moral of the story is, yes we can make plans and for the most part, we may be successful in executing them, but sometimes, we are thrown a curve ball and it knocks us off the path of the plan. Because of this, live life well, live in the moment, this moment, still take the risks, be spontaneous and be as healthy as you can be whilst living your day to day lives, but remember, take nothing for granted and while we are all busy working, making a living, making a better life for ourselves and our children, make sure we don’t neglect our health or put it on the back burner, because it really is our wealth.