Good for the Plot.
Dernière mise à jour : 22 avr.
There is a short phrase that has kept me upbeat during the last year, when plans have gone awry and unexpected incidents occur: it’s good for the plot.
Treat your life like a novel, like a Netflix show, like a Hollywood movie and you will view the difficult and often unjust cards you are dealt as something more interesting than annoying, exciting rather than stressful.
The harsh reality that we all eventually learn (typically the hard way) as adults is that no matter how much you plan something, the universe can have different plans for you. There is a bump in the road, the train falls off the tracks, turbulence hits and the ‘fasten seatbelt’ light starts flashing (there are a surprising amount of transport-related analogies to support this point).
When unexpected incidents interrupt your carefully detailed plans, it can be so easy to fall into a pit of despair, rolling your eyes until you get a headache and questioning, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ When plot twists occur, it is a total waste of energy to react negatively, so why not smile for the camera, knowing that your readers/listeners/viewers will enjoy this unforeseen circumstance you have found yourself in.
Now, you have two types of plot twist: minor and major. The major ones are your real ‘Why me?’ moment, when despairing, gloomy and melancholic are adjectives that may be used when someone asks how you are.
The minor twists could almost occur daily and usually provide more amusement and befuddlement, Mr Bean style. They are more of a minor inconvenience and normally don’t have a huge impact on the trajectory of your life. They include:
· Flights being delayed,
· Bad haircuts (you’ll still tell the hairdresser you love it as you desperately hold back your tears),
· Going out for ‘one drink’ and arriving home at 4am (that early morning trip to the farmer’s market may have to be cancelled),
· Ordering an iced coffee on a hot summer’s day, only to be told they have run out of ice (I’m looking at YOU Pret).
The major plot twists (the ones you don’t want to be too heavily inundated with in a short period of time) include:
· Quitting or being fired (and equally, receiving a new job opportunity),
· Relationship or friendship break ups,
· Death (morbid, but true),
· Moving house or even country.
In recent years I have encountered quite a few major plot twists, with a sudden break-up and subsequent flat move involved. A huge one though, one that I never saw coming, was the revelation that I want to leave teaching and never return. This plot twist hurt a lot, as I spent four long years studying teaching at university and endured five difficult years as a teacher in London.
However, in my mind I knew it would all be worth it, as teaching was my calling, and I would be in this stable profession until retirement, until I am hobbling around the classroom with my zimmer frame, telling my students about ‘the good ol’ days (the noughties, of course). So when this plot-twist occurred in my fifth year of teaching, I was left feeling quite stunned, with the life I had envisioned for myself for many years crumbling away.
This was an end-of-a season style plot twist, where the main character has this major revelation and the scene ends, credits roll, and viewers are left on a cliff-hanger: what does she do next? Does she leave teaching? What will happen?
From reading previous blog posts, you’ll know that I did in fact leave teaching and decided to take a gap year in Paris, working as an au pair and being the Irish version of Emily in Paris.
Well, another plot twist has occurred: I am leaving Paris! Is this how I had planned or expected my ‘gap year’ in Paris to turn out? Absolutely not, but it is the reality. I had two choices: play my tiny violin or take this plot-twist as a new, exciting opportunity (I know the readers of my life-story will be loving this update).
The thing about a plot twist is that you often don’t see them coming. They swoop in, often violently, and you are left stunned, questioning everything. It’s almost slightly rude of life to just introduce these plot twists with little-to-no warning. Listen, I love life (and life loves me, I’m sure of it), but sometimes the manner in which she works is brutal. I couldn’t even have a full year without a major plot twist?
There are many sayings I often say to myself when I start overthinking or wondering why life can be so cruel, including: ‘nothing meant for you will pass you by’ and ‘everything happens for a reason.’
The latter I think about a lot and it helps me to alleviate feelings of disappointment if anything ever goes wrong and plans don’t work out. For example:
· Got black-out drunk and made a fool of yourself at the office party? Life is telling you to consider your alcohol consumption before something even worse happens.
· Broke your leg the day before a ski holiday? Life is preventing you from going skiing, as maybe something worse, or even fatal, would have happened on that ski holiday.
· Fired from your job? Good, life is telling you that that job is not right for you and you will find an even better job (sometimes we can be too scared to take action, so life forces us into these uncomfortable situations so that change can occur).
· Your boyfriend broke up with you even though you thought you’d be together forever? He wasn’t your soulmate, trust that life will bring your right person to you – you’re being saved from heartbreak even further down the line.
So even though things can happen unexpectedly and leave us feeling rather winded, it is often for the best. You are either being protected from a terrible fate, or rescued from a situation that could get worse and worse. Life has your back, and although life can be harsh with its delivery, know that it is always for the best. Everything happens for a reason.
Also, enjoy the numerous plot twists! They make life more interesting and mean you have some great stories to tell in the pub. Trust the process, trust that everything will work out and look forward to the next plot twist that will have fans of the Netflix show of your life looking forward to the next season.