I never used to believe in the whole “the universe has a plan” thing. Garbage. Mumbo jumbo. I was in control of my own destiny. And, on the days when things didn’t go my way, it was because I was being punished for something. Somehow I deserved whatever crap got flung my way. Because I wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t earned success. And, when all else failed, I would drink it all away.
The universe always has a plan. Sometimes I forget that. And then a day like today shows up to remind me how this stuff works in real life. My sober life. And I get to feel loved by a power bigger than me. And important. And special. And worthy.
Today started out with a plan. It was my plan. I made it last night before I went to bed, and nothing was going to get in my way. I anticipated the post-storm delayed school opening for the kids and was ready to jump in the car the moment the second bus pulled away. I was headed out to go snowshoeing. Because you don’t get 17 inches of gorgeous snow and not go snowshoeing.
But, the universe was going to have nothing to do with it. Why? Because the universe knew better. The universe knew I was never going to make it out there in the 20 degree weather and whipping wind fueled only by the 40 ounces of camomile tea I’d fed myself this morning. The universe knew I needed to have breakfast. The universe knew I needed to do a little bit of work in the office. The universe knew I was not done peeing out those 40 ounces of camomile tea. The universe knew I didn’t have my scarf in the car. The universe knew I was in no physical shape whatsoever to tackle 17 inches of untouched snow on my own. The universe knew I needed more strength than I possessed.
So, the universe made sure the parking lot wasn’t plowed and sent me back home.
The old me would’ve said it was a sign. That I wasn’t supposed to go snowshoeing today. That … I don’t know what. But it would’ve been a good story.
The real me, the sober me, knew not to give up. I had been waiting for this snow for a long time there was no way I was going to let this day get away from me. After a huge (and healthy) meal and a little bit of time in the office, I ventured out again.
I trusted that the universe was not conspiring against me. I had to go out and try again, park somewhere else if necessary. I cheered when I saw one small section of the parking lot had been cleared. I pulled in, bundled up, strapped on my snowshoes, and began walking.
Oh. My. Gosh. It was so hard. I was completely out of breath within minutes. The snow was so deep. And untouched. No other tracks to walk in. I almost turned back. I started to spook myself out. I was so scared. We don’t see bears this time of year, but you never know. And what about all those reported sightings of bobcats and other wild animals that might be in the woods? The woods right along the trail. But I persisted.
No music today. No mileage tracking app. Just me and the sound of my snowshoes crunching through the beautiful powder. The howling wind. The creaking trees I thought might come crashing down. And, my huffing and puffing. I am so out of shape. Man, was it hard.
Then, there they were. Tracks in the snow. Oh thank goodness. The snow was so deep and the thought of rewarding myself with a hot coffee (breaking my no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine attempt) was losing its motivational oomph. I hopped into the footprints and trudged a little bit more easily. When I felt weak, I allowed myself to be carried by the strength of this person who was only about 100 yards ahead of me. When I felt stronger, I stepped off his path and made my own. Every once in a while, I stopped to inhale the view and take a photo.
The universe had my back today. And, I need to remember that. Always. Especially when I feel like I have to fight so hard against it.
Three years ago, I wouldn’t have reacted the same way I did today. Let’s be honest. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have even ventured out snowshoeing. But, if I had and if my plans didn’t work out, I’d have given up on the day altogether and made a beeline for the nearest liquor store.
Relaxing tonight after a hot bath, I feel my sore and tired legs and I smile. Today was a great day. Thank you, universe.
Also published on Medium.