Birthday Plans Gone Awry

IMG_1561Today is my 60th birthday! Mike and I have been planning my birthday week for a couple of months. On Monday, I would treat myself to a haircut and a massage. On Tuesday, we’d have dinner with family. On the big day, we would drive to St. Louis where we had hotel and dinner reservations at the Chase Park Plaza and tickets to see Hamilton at The Fox Theatre. The next day would be our annual springtime visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, The Butterfly House, and the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. And there would be cake! And champagne!

Instead of enjoying these wonderful plans, I’m spending my birthday in the hospital where I’ve been since Sunday with an acute viral intestinal infection. I’ve been on a clear liquid diet of water and orange jello. (I am finally feeling a bit better and well enough to gather a few thoughts for this post today, although it’s later than usual.)

We know what they say about best laid plans. In his 1785 poem To a Mouse, Robert Burns wrote something like, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy!” (Burns actually uses fancier Old English words but thou get’st thy drift.) The theme of the poem is the unpredictability of life.

Burns empathizes with a wee mouse and we little humans as well. He knows it’s in our nature to constantly make plans, but he believes we must understand many of our schemes and dreams won’t pan out. Burns’ advice is to face life’s unpredictability with wisdom and compassion.

So as I sit in the hospital feeling sorry for myself, I’m also trying to be aware of the compassion extended to me during my 60th birthday trip to Good Samaritan Hospital. I look around and see evidence of friends and family who love me, nurses and doctors who are caring for me, a sweet bouquet of flowers Mike brought me.

About 200 years after Burns wrote his poem, John Lennon’s song Beautiful Boy included this line, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Long before those wise words were penned, Proverbs 16:9 said, “A man’s heart plans his way: but the Lord directs his steps.”

I may be 60 now, but spending it in a hospital is a reminder (and maybe even a gift) that I still have a lot to learn. And re-learn. Over and over. Right now, I’m doing the most human thing possible ~ making plans to do everything on my birthday list as soon as I feel better. §

20 thoughts on “Birthday Plans Gone Awry

  1. Alicia! I’m telling the universe that you need to get to STL to have your special birthday celebration! Happy birthday to you, my beautiful friend!! Wishing you all the best this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its amazing how one can be inspired about life while being confined in a hospital. As we said soooo many times during the past few years, this is just a bump in the road. You will celebrate a full week of birthday plans, just not on the days you thought. Take care, as we are thinking happy thoughts and sending prayers your way. 🌻🙏🤗😘.

    Sent from my iPhone


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  3. Sorry things didn’t go as planned, but we hope you are improving health wise. You can carry out your plans as you feel better. “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Happy Birthday!! Love, Aunt Laura Lee and Uncle Bruce

    Laura Allen


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  4. Alicia, as sick as you have been you still still amaze me with your ability to put words together so beautifully. You are going to be fine and can start planning fun things to do to celebrate your special year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Alicia, I am so sorry to hear of your infection and hospitalization. As always, your attitude is amazing and your ability to reflect on all the positives is admirable. Prayers for a solid and swift recovery. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning, Happy birthday! Maybe you can just consider May your birthday month and do as many of the things as you had planned when you are well. I sympathize. One of my good friends was planning a girls weekend at her beach house when her father became very ill and she had to travel to another city to help him. Like you, the planning was exactly the way she wanted it and it was a disappointment we all felt. I am not on social media and that is why I am emailing. I do enjoy your blog and I am a subscriber. Best, Leslie Coe


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Leslie! Thank you so much for reading my blog and sending me a message. (I’m not on social media either.) Yes, some of our best plans fall through, and once we get over the disappointment, we just have to make the best of it. I think I’ll take you up on your idea of celebrating the whole month. The month of May is one of the best months of the year in my opinion. I hope to hear from you again. Best, Alicia


  7. So sorry to read that it’s necessary to postpone your  birthday bash because of your illness/hospitalization.   Hope you will be home soon and feeling well enough  to carry out your great  St. Louis trip .  Sounds like a well planned,  mini vacation there; one of my favorite places.

    Amber Hanson

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amber! I am recuperating in our sunroom looking out at our feeders. We’ve had a tanager, two rose-breasted grosbeaks, orioles, and an indigo bunting here today! All of those are rare sights for us, so I’m taking them as birthday gifts! Thanks for being such a loyal reader. I really appreciate it. 🙂 Alicia

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Praying you are healthy very soon and able to enjoy those lovely plans ❤️🤗🙏Happy belated birthday 🎂 Hugs,Jennie Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, an AT&T 5G smartphone

    Liked by 2 people

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