My novel, Catch a Falling Star, asks the question: Is life about accomplishing plans … or wishes coming true … or something more?
Today’s post is the ninth in the “When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan” Wednesday blog series, 11 guest posts by authors and writers, including Deborah Raney, Rachel Hauck, and Susan May Warren, who explore the question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Today’s post is by debut author Carla Laureano.
Writing may be a lifelong love, but it certainly wasn’t my first. When I was a little girl, my deepest desire was to be …
I realize that most girls go through the ballerina phase at some point, but I wasn’t one of those. My All-In-All-the-Time personality developed early. I didn’t just want to twirl around in tutus. I wanted to be a principal dancer with a major New York City ballet company by the age of twenty-two. I gave up Girl Scouts and track and field and every other leisure pursuit that was incompatible with ballet training.
I took every class available at my local studio. At the age of twelve, my mom started driving me the two hours to Los Angeles to train with a legendary ballet mistress, formerly of the Royal Ballet of London. At thirteen, I attended my first summer intensive at Ballet Aspen. At fourteen, my brave parents let me travel further afield for six weeks at the Milwaukee Ballet School.
And then disaster happened. Shortly after returning from Milwaukee, during rehearsals for The Nutcracker, I slipped on a slick patch of floor. I went down with a sickening crunch. My left ankle immediately swelled to the size of a softball. A trip to the doctor the next day confirmed my worst fears: ligaments torn away from the bone. It could be fixed with surgery involving a steel pin, and I could be back to dancing in six weeks. Or I could stay off it and let it heal on its own over the next several months.
Maybe it was burn-out. Or maybe it was God’s quiet nudging that He wanted me to move in a different direction. I chose the second option.
In the months that followed, first gimping around on crutches (which wasn’t all bad—the cute boy on which I had a crush carried my backpack for two weeks!) and then regaining strength, I rediscovered my love of writing. And at the age of sixteen, wrote my first novel.
It was that novel, terrible as it was, that helped earn me a scholarship to college. It was the realization writing was my true love that propelled me to study English. And it may have taken twenty years to get here–via a husband, two kids, a 1200-mile move, and more than one full-time career–but that tiny slick patch of floor is ultimately responsible for the fact I’m living my dream of being a published novelist.
Do I regret that plans didn’t work out the way I’d hoped? Occasionally. I still take ballet classes for fun and for exercise. I go to the ballet whenever I can afford tickets, and I count down every year to “So You Think You Can Dance” on TV. But most of all, I’m grateful for what I learned from ten years of training for a career I never achieved.
Anything worth doing is worth doing wholeheartedly. Dream big. And trust the One whose plans are much clearer and more comprehensive than our own.
What lessons have you learned from the detours in your own life?
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Carla Laureano has held many job titles—professional marketer, small business consultant, and martial arts instructor—but writer is by far her favorite. She currently lives in Denver with her patient husband and two rambunctious sons, who know only that Mom’s work involves lots of coffee and talking to imaginary people. Carla’s debut contemporary romance, Five Days in Skye, releases from David C Cook on June 10th.