Plans, Surprises, and To-Do Lists

Planning is my forte.

Short-term plans: I plan my days down to the minute.  Long-term plans: I’ve planned by life in increments of 1-year plans, 5-year plans, 10-year plans.

You think I’m exaggerating?

-I was looking at college programs before middle school.

-I use a paper calendar because it is way quicker for me to write my plans than put them in my phone. And, bonus!, everyone can easily see my visible schedule.  That way THEY can plan accordingly.  Peace on earth.

-To-do lists clutter my counters.  And my car.  And my purse.  And my bathroom.

Plans seem safe.  They eradicate surprise and without surprise why would you need to fear anything?  Plans equal success. However, I’ve learned that this is all in theory.  It doesn’t take long on this earth to realize that surprises pop up without notice for even the most planned-out, OCD, organized people.

Sometimes they’re good surprises…. Better than we could ever have planned for.

Sometimes they’re bad surprises…. Way worse than we could have planned for.

Sometimes they’re just surprises…. They just are what they are.

My life looks nothing like I had planned.  Honestly, my life doesn’t look like any plan I’ve EVER had for myself.

Shockingly, I’m accepting this.  It’s slightly uncomfortable but I’m embracing the discomfort.  I don’t need to run away from it or plan myself out of it.

This is an ending of an era.  The Era of Being Ok because-

  1. I was a human doing.  Doing made me ok.  Doing in terms of planning, working harder and harder and pleasing more.
  2. I master-planned and (dare I say) even manipulated my life to have desired outcomes.  To be honest, my manipulations just did. not. work.
  3. So much of my time was spent preparing for the future in hopes that it would work out perfectly.

This is the beginning of a new era.  The Era of Being Ok because-

  1. I am a human being.  My existence, my every breath, makes me ok.  My worth is not based on how well I can do things, how well I can please, or how excellently I can plan life events.  My worth is in the fact that I’m a human being taking up a little space on this earth.
  2. I can only do the best I can in the moment that I’m living right now.  I can’t control the future and I can’t alter the past. And if I mess it up, I get a second chance in the form of a tomorrow.  I get to wake up and try it all again.
  3. Much more of my time is spent enjoying today.  Enjoying smaller things.  Dreaming about the future, but not agonizingly preparing for it.

Now, you won’t see my paper calendar in the trash any time soon.  I will continue to put money in my retirement account.  I’m not throwing planning out of the window entirely. But my priorities have shifted.

I want to wake up every day and know that no matter what plans I may have, surprises will most likely pop up.  I want to see these as my adventure, my journey.  Not something to hate or run away from.

I want to embrace the discomfort of the bad surprises, soak up the joy of the good surprises, and just keep on keepin’ on through the surprises that are just plain surprises.

4 thoughts on “Plans, Surprises, and To-Do Lists

  1. So proud of you, Taylor! This is my favorite one yet – I think … Shoot! They’re all great! I probably say this each time, but I’m truthful when I say I look forward to the next one!

    Love ya!

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