Look guys, I’m a planner. If there’s a trip or event coming up, I’m usually the one who’s figuring out when we need to leave, how we’ll get there, and what we’ll need to bring with us. Last minute changes are not my best friend, because that usually means I’m scrambling to prepare or adapt to the new situation. It’s a bit stressful, actually.
This would also explain why I typically have my blog topics picked out weeks in advance. As deadlines get closer, I already have a head start by knowing what I want to talk about. Of course, there are times when I choose to deviate from my plans if there’s something timely that I want to write about. There are also times when I forget to plan (er – like this week). But most of the time, I have plans for everything.
But what if I didn’t?
Just recently (depending on when you’re reading this), I had some friends from out of town come and spend the weekend with me. We’d been planning this for weeks now, and we had it figured out – we’d go to an amusement park for the day, go to some other local places, and so on. We bought the tickets for the amusement park ahead of time and I took a few days off of work.
Then it rained.
And rained and rained and rained.
Well, we decided we’d play it by ear. Maybe the rain would stop by the weekend?
Then a text from one of my friends: She wasn’t sure she’d be able to come that weekend after all due to car trouble.
And by this point, I’m starting to feel a little stressed – my carefully-laid plans are falling apart, thanks to all of these unforeseen circumstances. I don’t know what we’re gonna do, who will be here, when they’ll be here, how long they’ll stay… the list goes on and on.
I knew we were just going to have to wing it, and even though I made peace with that fact, it still made me a little uneasy. After all, I like plans and schedules. I like knowing what’s going on – and, more to the point, being in control of what’s going on. That wasn’t gonna happen this weekend.
So we ran with it. My friend with the car trouble was able to come after all, but she wouldn’t be able to stay as long, so we decided to take a rain check on the amusement park and go another day. Everything else… well, we’d figure it out as we went along.
It took me a while to get used to that thought, but in the end, it actually worked out rather nicely. We walked around campus and played Pokémon Go (and taught a friend how to play Pokémon Go), went to a local restaurant for dinner, went to a bookstore full of little nooks and crannies and hidden treasures. We went to a wildlife park and pet baby goats, watched Atlantis late at night, and got to get caught up on our summers.
Almost none of that was planned.
To be honest, it was actually kinda freeing to not have a plan for once. It was an adventure, getting to do things (somewhat) spontaneously. We didn’t have to rush or hurry to do the “next thing” – we could take our time and enjoy things together.
Or, take this blog post for example – I certainly wasn’t planning on writing about this topic this week (mostly because I forgot to plan to begin with), but then this topic sorta just fell into my lap and I decided to run with it. If I’d made a plan, it probably wouldn’t have happened this way.
So I suppose the lesson for myself this week is to embrace not having a plan all the time. Yes, I’m still going to make to-do lists and outline my stories before writing them (well, the long ones at least), but I’m going to be better about not freaking out anytime there’s a change in plans.
A change in plans is a new opportunity, not a threat. Sometimes, adapting to the uncertainty can lead to the best memories.