The hardest part about foster care was the feeling that we, the kids and I, had no control over what happened to us. DCF could (and did) make snap decisions that impacted our lives. All we could do was say "how high?" whenever they said "jump." Sometimes it was a small thing, like where to put the baby crib (they made us move it no fewer than four times). Other times it was big things, like could Big Brother continue to live in the house with us or not (they tried to say no, I disagreed. Loudly).
I hated that feeling then, and I hate it now, too. There isn't any ominous entity looming over us anymore, controlling our lives like a puppeteer. The kids are happy, their mom is doing really well, and Big Brother is doing great, too. Despite this, I'm struggling with a bunch of Big Feelings around control.
I wrote my last post full of grim determination, overflowing with insistence that I WILL achieve my goal, I WILL make my home ownership dreams come true. After I pushed the 'publish' button on that post I got down to business, brainstorming strategies. I made a list of potentially marketable skill I have. Next, I set to work designing a tee shirt I could sell here on the blog, and got a price quote to have them produced. Then, I drafted a new blog page, devoted completely to fundraising to supplement my down payment. I was very, very busy, in other words.
The problem is, all that busy-busy didn't necessarily produce anything. I went back and looked at my draft page later and realized, if I published it as it was, I would only look frenzied and maybe a tad more loca than I'm going for. And I'll be honest here, I'm not really sure I can deal with the rejection if I publish that page and nobody responds.
So what am I going to do, then? Do I scrap the whole idea and come up with a new goal? Do I forge ahead anyway and hope for the best? The answer is, I just don't know.
For now, I will continue making plans and thinking through various strategies. I may eventually hit the publish button on the fundraising page, once I get it where it needs to be and work up enough nerve. But I will also spend some time sitting with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, I need to let go of this dream. The window of opportunity may close before I have a chance to squeeze myself through it, and despite my best efforts I simply may not be able to control that.
This isn't to say I'm throwing the towel in without even trying. That is not, and never will be, part of any plan of mine. Nevertheless, I wanted to post about this because for a strategic plan to be sound, it must take into account the less pleasant "what ifs." In the non-profit world, it means having a strategy in reserve for "if we lose our grant." For me, it means having a strategy in place for "if I can't buy a home." After all, that is the whole point of having a strategic plan in the first place - not just to help you achieve your goals, but to ensure you will still be okay, even when things don't go as planned.
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