What Are Your Plans?

It started in high school. My Uncle Bob used to ask me what my five year plan was every Christmas. He meant well, trying to help me figure out what it was I wanted to do, but I never had a good answer. I knew I wanted to go to college. I knew I wanted to write. When or where was always fuzzy. I guess I lacked the ability to pretend that life has the ability to be planned out five years in advance. I definitely tried.

The master plan was never really something we openly discussed at the dining room table at home. My parents were supportive of everything but my dad definitely made sure to instill in me an importance of supporting myself in whatever direction I ended up heading. At times, it was hard being a broke college student, but I am so incredibly grateful for the struggle because it helped me figure out how to take care of myself. 

What are your plans? I've had some sort of plan since I could hold a pencil. I thrived in event planning during my grad school years. I obsessed over party details every gathering we decided to have. Plans, for me, have always been fun to dream up and organize but the reality was that they always, overwhelmingly, went another way. I have never had the natural flexibility to "go with it" and be "okay" with plans shifting. 

I reached this place when I chose to give up teaching: it was a new place that required faith in the unplanned plan. There wasn't really a day that I symbolically threw my day planner in the fire, but somewhere in that career change, I decided to trust a life not thought out. It was terrifying at first, but with a little practice, I got good at it. Integrating improvisation in your life is good, but applying it to the "master (un)plan" is on another level.

What are my plans? I don't know. At all.  I've been conditioned to believe that this is wrong or lazy or devoid of direction. I'm "unfocused." But I choose to think of it as something I've never allowed myself to do: not know. My life-long planing gave me a false sense of control and direction. I have manipulated every decision in my life by planning years in advance. It led me to burn out in a career that didn't match my life. 

I don't have parameters for what I'm going to do when I leave here, or even really know what the next job or place to live will look like. I know what I don't want and I know what I'm good at and I know what I enjoy. But other than that, it's pretty blank. And I think that's okay. I am practicing being comfortable in the unknown. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. This is also the happiest I've ever been.

Some people think moving away and not knowing anyone is the scariest thing in the world. To me, being alone with your thoughts used to be really scary. Now I can't get enough. I have so much I want to do: read, write, run, hike, yoga, bake, cook, organize, create. I can't wait when lunch comes around and I get to sit in the swing behind the office and write. I can't wait to take the evening run with myself and the trail and daydreams.

Things are shifting. Fall is near and that's always been a starting over point. Change is happening, however slow it needs to happen. I will never forget where I'm from and never stop missing the people that love me and support me. But for right now, I need patience: to dream, to wander, to grow, to be alone. I am learning how to stay present and really get to the bottom of what I want. I think this will lead to me recognizing the "what" when it comes around and leaving the rest alone.

My plans don't have anything to do with how I make my money or where I live. My plans are making the most of every single day by getting outside and doing what I love. My focus is how I can improve, how I can make time for what makes me happy. And I never want that to change.

What are your plans?