Monday, February 7, 2011

Life. Or, A Short Analysis of A Fickle Phenomenon.

Let's talk about plans. Everyone is a planner to a certain degree. I like to plan major things out a few months in advance. I would say Devin likes to plan major things out a few years in advance (just kidding, love. sort of.) My dad likes to plan things out a few days in advance. Most young men like to plan things out mere minutes before they actually happen. At any rate, there's obviously a large spectrum of planning personalities. My question tonight is this though: How many of you out there have ever had to rearrange your plans? If you are not mentally raising your hand, I curse you and your perfect life. However, I'm guessing that virtually every person who has ever walked this earth has changed their plans at some point. So yeah! No cursing today!

Plans are great and I'm a huge proponent of being prepared and giving your best shot at every opportunity that comes your way (which often requires a little planning.) However, life seems to think this is a funny thing to do, judging on how often it throws a little wrench in there. Life has a very hilarious sense of humor. Life is just waiting to see how invested you get in your plans and then BAM! Life makes you move, or gives you the flu, or breaks your leg. Sometimes there are good BAMs, don't get me wrong. Sometimes life seems to be in a good mood and gives you $80 on the ground, or green lights at every intersection, or cake with extra frosting (literally or metaphorically.) The point of all of this personification is to say something very obvious. As much as we try to plan our lives out perfectly, we never really know what's going to happen next.

So what's the point? Sure, it's obviously helpful to have a general idea of what steps you want to take next, but how far can you really take it? I visited my beautiful friend Courtney this weekend and we talked about how it can be detrimental to get caught up in plans. Once we brand our plans in our minds, we may be unknowingly nixing any number of great things that could happen. Life could be in one of those good moods and throw you a present! And don't you want to be ready to catch that gift? Just because it doesn't fit in with your preconceived plans doesn't mean it couldn't be awesome.

Let me try and think of a more concrete example. After Christmas, I had a lot of plans for what my life would be this year. I thought I would do more sleeping, reading, and general relaxing by myself. I thought I would spend a lot more time contemplating and questioning my place in the world, and I thought I would be pretty "meh" about it. But then what happened? I found some people who graciously let me into their lives and "rent out their world" as one of them put it. If I had convinced myself that this time was meant for me to be introspective and reflective 24/7, I wouldn't be getting to know these wonderful people. And believe me. I was pretty convinced and ready to put my plan into action.

I guess the long and short of what I'm saying is this: Plans are swell. I love them, really. But what I am trying to learn to love more is having plans with wiggle room. Let yourself take advantage of the unexpected. Jump on opportunities that throw themselves into your lap. Don't close your eyes. Open them and open them wide. I'm convinced you will see far more than you first thought was there.

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