When Plans Change
As a kid, I’d be immobilized by frustration when something didn’t go according to the carefully crafted plan in my head. It was a powerful, overwhelming feeling that caused me to miss the enjoyment of whatever reality was before me.
I suspect there’s a genetic element to that, because one of the hallmark traits of my younger son, severely challenged by autism, is that same inflexibility in the face of unforeseen change.
Life has a way of knocking that out of a person. We learn to become flexible to survive. The inevitability of changes in the weather, a car or computer breaking down, or other people changing jointly-made plans makes adjusting to the unexpected a necessity. Though that can be extremely difficult for many on the autism spectrum, fortunately, my son has become much more able to adapt over the years, as have I.
I’d planned to explore a new trail on Mt. Tam for Mother’s Day. Weather and timing issues changed the day’s hike plan to a steep ridge trail into Muir Woods. Yet more monkey wrenches fell into our plans, and we ended up exploring a new city park with great views instead.
Learning to pivot with changing circumstances makes the difference between a whole day being ruined by frustration and finding enjoyment in whatever our day turns out to be.
As a kid, walking outdoors was the one thing guaranteed to help me work my way out of a bad mood due to unanticipated change. I’m grateful that my son also enjoys the calming comfort of walking in nature.
May we all find joy in the path that befalls us, even when it’s not the one we intended.
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Fern Creek Trail-Muir Woods, one of the ridge trails that descends to the redwood trails of Muir Woods, a handy backup for those not able to make reservations to park at the Muir Woods lot.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 17): Fern Creek Trail-Muir Woods
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