Someone on Facebook recently suggested that when life hands us curveballs, we yell “Plot twist!” and adjust to the unexpected, often inconvenient scenarios that throw the days off course. Take it from someone whose OCD makes schedule changes seem like calamities, that’s good advice.
In more recent years, I’ve gotten better at quickly adjusting when things don’t go as planned, though sometimes it still throws me into a foul mood.
When I was a kid, I’d throw epic tantrums if we went to the movies and the film we wanted to see was sold out. That’s typical childhood behavior, but it followed me to adulthood. I’d rage if a traffic jam threw off the timing of when I’d get from point A to B (I still hate that, but my reaction is more muted). If plans for a night out with friends or a quiet night at home suddenly changed, I’d sink into a depressive funk.
Thinking of these things as plot twists goes far in changing that kind of attitude for the better. There’s a certain fun to yelling “Plot twist!” It injects humor into the situation and calms the other people with you who are being equally inconvenienced.
During a recent camping trip with the family in Maine, the power went out while dinner was cooking on the camper stove. It was hot as hell and we suddenly had no AC to escape to. Erin yelled “Plot twist!” and we proceeded to make the dinner preparations that didn’t require electricity. It also led me to see humor in the fact that electricity had become a requirement on camping trips. To be fair, it wasn’t tent camping. We use campers that hook into such home comforts as water and sewer access, Wi-Fi and cable TV.
Yelling “Plot twist!” doesn’t always work, however. If you’re working and a deadline is hanging over you, it’s hard to find the amusement when your Internet access goes down. If there’s a death among family or friends, nothing is going to blunt the sadness.
But if it helps you through at least some of life’s unexpected turns, that’s more than you had before.