Pennie Hunt FILE

Cheyenne author Pennie Hunt

You planned for a year. You sent out invitations, ordered a cake and said “Yes” to the dress. The day comes, and it is spectacular.  It is the fairy tale wedding of the year. Even the honeymoon was perfect.

And then, you came home to a new life with a partner and Now What? Now, things like laundry, negotiating finances and toothpaste in the sink become reality, and you are not adapting well.

You didn’t plan past the wedding cake. 

You brought home one or two, maybe more, sweet-smelling bundles from the hospital. You bathed them, fed them, and nurtured them through talking, taking their first step and all the steps after that right until they walked across the stage – cap and gown on, tassel dangling and your pride beaming. You help them pack their car, you make sandwiches for the road and tuck cash in their hand. The door closes on your child as they drive off to a new life, leaving you in an empty nest and Now What? Your purpose has just driven away, and what will you do now?

You didn’t plan past parenting. 

The turkey is bought, or jellybean baskets are filled, or the tree is up, and presents are wrapped – whichever holiday it is, you have prepared for the fun, food and family. The house is filled with laughter and joy. The day after comes, and Now What? The house is quiet and empty. Your heart sinks from sudden loneliness. Your festive holiday adrenaline is drained and has puddled on the floor.

You didn’t plan past the holiday. 

The dreaded school reunion is six months away, so you work out, diet, lose those 30 pounds, and fit into that little black dress. The day after comes, and Now What? You sleep in because working out is overrated, a cheeseburger and fries sound good for lunch – after all, you haven’t had them in six months, and so it goes. Soon, the little black dress is tucked in the back of your closet with the other too-small clothes.

You didn’t plan past the reunion. 

It happened. Rehab. A little too much drinking, pills, gambling or whatever your addictive vice is. You can do the 30-60-90 days. You do the counseling, the group sharing, the journaling and inner work. The day comes when you finish. Your mind is clear, your body cleansed, and the world looks bright and possible again. And Now What? You return to the old life, the old friends, the old habits, and you are pulled further and further away from the protection of rehab and fall into the familiar arms of your vice.  

You didn’t plan past 30-60-90 days.

This is how we do life. We look at the gold ring. We reach for it. We get it. And then what? We don’t plan the next step. We don’t plan the next goal or the maintenance of our accomplishment. Without planning past, we will suffer from the slow slide back into the darkness of depression, or relapse into old habits and routines. Planning past should become as much a part of your process as your steps to success.

Plan past the wedding cake – visualize and talk about how your shared life will be. 

Plan past parenting. Do not curl into a tight ball of depression, disappearing into your empty nest. Look at it as a new adventure, time for YOU to fill this newfound space with the experiences YOU want to pursue. 

Plan past the holiday, so that after the presents are gone, the tree is put away and leftovers are eaten, you have scheduled what is next on your calendar to fill the quiet. 

Plan past the reunion. Don’t lose weight for a specific moment in time. Get in shape for yourself, your health, your longevity. You will look and feel great for every event … not just one reunion. 

Plan past a program. The 30-60-90-day programs might work for the time you are there, but you need a life program. One that doesn’t end when you walk out of a facility. One that is engrained in your belief system 100% ... then it becomes YOUR program. Your way of life. Your success! 

Be proactive. Look at your life in long-term successes. Short-term goals are great steppingstones, but to be successful in life, you must not look at a goal as the finale. Always be prepared and have a vision for what comes next. Only then will you walk a life-path of achievement, knowing that each successful step you take creates a trail of confidence behind you and a road of determination ahead of you. 

Pennie’s Life Lesson: “Don’t stop when you reach a goal. Plan past the achievement. Have a vision for what comes next.”

Pennie Hunt is a Cheyenne-based author, blogger and speaker who teaches how to “Love Your Life ... NO MATTER WHAT!” Email:

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