Picking up where we left off last week, let’s talk about the difference between a plan, planning, and preparing – on our way, I promise, to family law.
Simply, no plan can work without proper preparation. Planning isn’t merely setting down a series of steps to follow, one by one, to reach a goal. It’s preparing for alternatives at every step. It’s preparing for almost anything – just in case.
Case in Point:
The 2015 World Series. Royals v Mets (remember baseball?) Both teams had scouted each other for weeks, both teams had a plan to win. Planning involved how to approach every hitter, how to approach every pitcher, how to set the defense, and a dozen other things the 2015 state-of-the-art sabermetrics guys could supply.
The Royals pick up on a tiny, obscure, infinitesimal-in-the-scheme-
If you’re not a baseball fan let me put this weakness in perspective: a first baseman’s throwing arm may – may – affect the outcome of a baseball game once every three or four years. It’s seldom a big deal. That’s why guys with crappy arms playing first base is a baseball tradition.
Still, the Royals made it part of their planning.
Game 5, 9th inning, Mets up one, Royals at bat, runner on third, one out, ground ball to third, David Wright looks the runner back, easy out at first . . . and, in contravention of all known and accepted baseball norms, knowledge, lore, and good common sense, the runner on third bolts for home. Sure fire double play to end the game, a lob throw nails him by twenty feet.
Duda throws the ball away. Way away. Game tied, Royals win the Series in the 12th inning. The thing that strikes me most here is the runner at third’s – Eric Hosmer, himself a first baseman and hardly a speedster – almost instantaneous reaction. In a heartbeat – the grounder to third was smoked – he recognized the situation and remembered the plan. No doubt, no hesitation. He executed.
So . . . about family law.
I have a friend, lives out of state so Triangle Smart Divorce can’t help him. I’ll call him Brian. Brian should have gotten divorced five years ago. Brian knows this. Brian is a lawyer who won’t go near a family law case, but he can read a practice manual with the best of us so he knows how things work and in what time frames.
He has danced with filing for divorce several times over the years, but never had a plan. A pattern emerged as ‘stuff’ would always ‘come up’: ready-to-file, but last kid finishing up high school, wait for graduation/kid graduates, wife loses job, middle child about to graduate college/wife gets new, solid, job, youngest starting college, a health scare pops up/wife loses job, youngest transferring schools, middle child back in house while she works nearby . . . and repeat as necessary.
One thing out of all of this is very real: he may make good money but it’s not enough to support two households where he lives.
Finally, this February, he came up with a plan – wife gets job, he files and moves. There was more to it, it was fairly detailed, well thought out.
On February 28th his wife got a new job, well paying, with a very well funded startup with lots of upside. His youngest was headed to school in Chicago, where the oldest lives. Stage set.
His youngest had orientation in Chicago on March 9th, his wife brought him. She started her new job on March 11th. You could hear my friend’s exhale of relief all down the east coast. He was ready.
On March 14th, his city cancelled their iconic St. Patrick’s parade. On March 16th his daughter was send home to work ‘until things settle down.’ His wife was laid off three days later. The state completely shut down two days after that. As I write this his state is considered a ‘hot zone.’
Brian had a plan. A solid, realistic plan that accounted for some variables. He was ready . . . but he wasn’t Kansas City Royal/Eric Hosmer ready.
He froze at third.
There was, of course, no way to know the coronavirus would become a pandemic and cities and states would shut down and institute social distancing. No regular person could have anticipated that. Just like no one can anticipate other natural disasters.
That’s the point – no one knows what tomorrow will bring. If you wake up and the birds are singing and the sun is up and it’s a regular old day totally absent viruses and mushroom clouds and hurricanes and volcanoes and you have a plan – for anything – now is the time to implement it.
There will never be a perfect time to file for divorce. Never.
Eric Hosmer it, folks. Act when you can. And you still can.