Shit happens, right? Things don't go according to plan, but then what? I am a planner at heart. It's served me well in every job title I've ever worked under but things didn't turn out exactly how I anticipated every time. They still don't. I will be the first to tell you that I like knowing the plan. I'm guessing my sister would be the first to tell you how butt-hurt I get when things don't go as I expected. So what do I do when I burn my macarons or the drips on my cake aren't picture perfect? Aside from do them again, I try to keep some mental clarity on the situation and remember a few things. Below are my deep life thoughts for this month regarding how to maintain a level head when nothing is going your way. I like to think they are applicable to issues past desserts.
In any situation, you have some control. Even if it's just controlling your reaction, you are never completely helpless. Attitude makes all the difference and I know that's lame to say out loud but it really is true. Focus on what you can control. Recently, my amazing husband spent a great deal of time and energy planning our kid-free weekend get-away to Napa. The main event for the trip was a hot air balloon ride over the wine country and I was beside myself with excitement. He started planning this whole thing months ago. He lined up a trip for Grammy to stay with our little one, the flights, hotels, fun restaurants to try, and wineries to hit along the way. Our weekend finally arrived and it was a beautiful Friday afternoon that slowly turned into a grey evening and a rainy Saturday morning. That's right, our hot air balloon ride was canceled. Point being, despite his best efforts to plan everything this bummer of a reality hit. However, we had an amazing trip because we took control of the situation (not the weather) and tasted even more wine than originally expected. Cheers!
As a side note, yes - I am fully aware of what a first world problem it is to have to deal with a rained out hot air balloon ride and *sigh* drink more wine as an alternative. That's not the point and I will always be grateful for problems as light-hearted as these. They are nothing in all reality but my thought process was to illustrate taking control of a situation that didn't go according to plan.
Ever heard of Bob Ross? Happy accidents? There's something to that. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and while I'm not looking to start a philosophical debate on our existence or the relevance of free choice, I am suggesting to look for the good in any mistake. Something that you first dub as a disaster may just be your masterpiece if you can recognize it. Back during my days as a Fashion Design student, we liked to call these sort of things "opportunities for design details". To summarize, it's a fabric rose over a stain type of thing that really brings the look together.
It is well known that nothing is stagnant for long and while change can be scary it can also be a relief. Whatever the dilemma is, it will pass. Best case, a life lesson of some sort is learned. Take comfort in the fact that very few things are forever and know that moments, and most of the troubles that come with any given moment, will eventually pass. Why spend time holding onto what brings you down? What's that old joke? Death and taxes are the only two sure things you can't avoid - something like that? Everything else will serve it's time in your life and then be a memory. My hope is that they are mostly happy memories. Marie Kondo the rest of that noise and only hold on to what brings you joy.
This brings me to my last point: In a few years, will you or anyone even remember what has you stressed out right now? Let's take a break, kids, for story time with Yvette! Once upon a cake, there was a mother-of-a-bride who absolutely lost her mind over the color of the icing roses on the cake for her daughter's bridal shower. This lady was terribly upset, dare I say 'distraught', because the flower details were not the same shade beige as the napkins for her upcoming event. Of course, this was corrected with haste to appease her wishes but at the end of the day I have to wonder if any of her guests noticed the painstaking attention to detail regarding the chosen shade... or if they noticed the mother-of-the bride who was bringing the cake was late. What I'm trying to say is to simply be aware of how you're spending your energy in the time of a crisis and maybe the crisis won't seem so bad.
While I am not in any way, shape, or form a life guru of any sort (and I would never claim to be) I do think these small things are worth mentioning. That picture of the burnt macarons - that was yesterday. Let me be the first to tell you that I was deflated by the fail. I really thought I'd made enough to get my batches more or less down to a tried and true method. I was wrong. But shit happens and I had another go at them and life kept moving forward (a.k.a. my daughter woke up and I started mom-ing again). And so it goes.
So, next time your fondant cracks or you lock your keys in your car, take a breath and think about what you can do to make the situation better. Look for reasons to be thankful for the mishap and remember they may not always be revealed at that time. Perspective is key. Will this matter as much tomorrow? Next month? Five years from now? Some things, yeah - absolutely; but not all. Being angry takes a lot of energy and solves nothing in the process. I wish I had definitive words of wisdom to wrap all this up... but my daughter's nap time is coming to a close so I'll leave you with that. Kids do have a special way of simplifying things, don't they?