Who said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?” Though authorship is often attributed to John Lennon, fact-checkers found that the line, with minor tweaks, appeared in 1957, in the comic strip “Mary Worth,” by Allen Saunders.
Either way, this adage sums up my career. A recent example: While most of New York was in quarantine, I stumbled upon a feel-good story, which ran in The New York Times, practically in my own backyard.
Six years ago, when our only child started college, my husband and I planned to rent our Brooklyn, N.Y. townhouse and Airbnb our way through France. When nothing went according to plan, I wrote a book about it. Four Seasons in a Day: Travel, Transitions and Letting Go of the Place We Call Home, available in print, digital and audiobook formats, is the story of our misadventures. The Wall Street Journal named it one of “The Best Books of 2017 About Healthy Aging.”
In an earlier chapter of my work life, I founded an independent book publishing company to self-publish Estate Planning Smarts: A Practical, User-Friendly, Action-Oriented Guide. I didn’t plan to launch a business into what would become known as The Great Recession. Still, that book became an Amazon best-seller, and is now in the fourth edition.
When the book led to a job at Forbes Media, I planned to write for a print publication. And though I was a key contributor to its bi-annual Investment Guide, my major role was as a blogger, developing an audience that would help this legacy company transition to the digital age.
After I left Forbes three years later, my blog went on pause until I relaunched it in 2017 in a new home – on this website. Along with topics that I had covered previously, I planned to write about travel and the sharing economy. It seemed like the dream job until Covid-19 upended all of our lives – while we were making other plans.
Now I’m doing the pandemic pivot, writing about life in the time of Covid and welcoming other opportunities. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: Being able to adapt is more important than sticking to a plan.