Today, as I walked up a trail I had no plan of completing when I started my day, I thought about plans; particularly the plans of my childhood.
I recalled the hours my best friends and I would spend on our bedroom floors, wedding magazines strewn about, agonizing over just the right dress, venue, or ring.
I remembered years later, sitting on the same bedroom floors, with new magazines strewn about, pages filled with college courses, majors, dorms and meal plans. And once again, we agonized over just the right major, to secure just the right job, and of course, just the right life.
We made plans, again and again, because we were taught to.
At 5 we were asked, “When do you plan to clean your room?”
At 8 we were asked, “What’s your plan after to you go play at the park?”
At 12 we were asked, “What’s your plan after the movie?”
At 14 we were asked, “How do you plan to study for your big test?”
At 16 we were asked, “How do you plan to avoid pregnancy at STD’s?”
What’s your plan…
for this or that?
What the hell is the plan after you realize you aren’t a fan of plans?!
What’s the plan when you realize you’ve shaped your whole life around plans you thought you “SHOULD” make?
What’s the plan when you realize pretty much every long-term plan you’ve ever made has caused you to twist and turn until you could finally break free of it?
What’s the plan when you have come to terms with these realizations, and you stop planning altogether?
I’ll tell you what it is, you go all in and live the unplanned life you want to live more than anything. You let go of other’s expectations, judgements and “shoulds.” And you discover something new everyday as you actually LIVE your life, instead of follow a plan you mapped out on your bedroom floor at 17 years old — before you even knew what love felt like, before you knew how to love yourself, what brought you joy and ignited passion deep inside you, before you explored yourself and the world — a plan crafted simply because it made it easier to answer the question:
“What’s your plan?”
But what happens now? When the same people ask you the same question. When they assume you are simply going through a phase, when they believe listening to your authentic self and staying open to the ever-changing world will ultimately pass to make way for your long term plan. What do you tell these people when they ask:
“So what’s your plan after this?”
Do you lie?
Do you tell them what they want to hear? Hell, even expect to hear…
Do you fall back on the plans put together from scraps of paper; so far from your reality they were thrown out with the trash years ago?
You know the plan like the back of your hand after all. It would be easier to simply regurgitate it. Just one more time.
Just so you don’t have to deal with their awkward state, and the inevitable:
"What do you mean, you don’t have a plan?!”
Yes, you could do that.
But instead, what if you looked them dead in the face and with the biggest grin on your face you said:
“I don’t have a plan, and I’m not making one.”
Well ya’ll, my grandma told me something recently after I was asked the infamous question: “So what’s next? What’s your plan?”
She looked at me and said: “Annie, you just need something to stop the people who are asking dead in their tracks.”
And I have to say, I think the above response, free of bullshit, and full of power and truth will do the trick!
After all, the people asking don’t need to be let in on this secret, but every unplanned step of my life has brought me the greatest moments of joy I’ve ever experienced, the biggest realizations, adrenaline rushes and deepest moments of resonance of my entire life. Far beyond any moment I could have pieced together in a plan made form magazine clippings artfully staged by models and photographers.
I belong outside of the pages of a magazine, living a life rooted in the wild, unplanned world. I am bigger than the plans made long ago on my bedroom floor. And so are YOU sweet human!
May today bring you brilliant surprises and unplanned moments!
Lots of love,