I’ve never had a plan.
I do understand that you need some element of planning on a day to day level, to make sure that you are fed and clothed and the house gets cleaned. I do understand planning at that level. But not long term planning. I’ve never really understood that kind of plan, and I’ve never had one. Nor has husband
Not a five year plan, nor a 10 year plan. Nor a life plan. No lady plan.
Whenever I get asked that question, an interview classic, ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years time’? I don’t know. I have never known.
There have been no plans. In fact, the only plan I can ever recall following was a half-marathon running plan and even that was loose. I never planned to run a half-marathon, a friend suggested it and I thought ‘why not’? By the finish line I had a clearer understanding of why not!
I have also never really had goals. Apparently you need a plan, in order to successfully achieve goals. Beyond getting up and seeing where the day takes me. Generally, that has been my approach to life – see where it takes you. What adventures might come my way?
I have dreams. Lots of dreams. Some of which came true. Some of which didn’t.
I dreamed of being an astronaut, which was an epic fail.
I dreamed of having a 3 bed semi-detached house. Which sort of came true, as it turns out all I wanted really was a home that was safe and welcoming.
I dreamed of going to Iceland to see the Northern Lights and it was the best experience, far exceeding anything I’d imagined.
I still have many dreams:
I dream of going on a yoga retreat, of going on a paddle board on the ocean.
I’d like to watch a grand prix in Abu Dhabi.
I wonder about being some kind of speaker.
Or of writing some poetry and seeing where that takes me.
Of bringing cheer to people’s days and making the world a brighter place.
Everywhere I turn there seems to be apps, diaries, journals all aimed at how to plan. How to be more productive, how to achieve more in a week Year long planning journals. 90 day planning journals. Each one with a guarantee that their planning method is better than the next one. How to plan your social media feed so that it’s more effective at generating income, generating followers. How to plan your time so that you achieve more, waste less, fit more into a day. How to identify your 3 key targets for the day. How to measure them against your goals. How to manifest everything that you want. How to plan your life in accordance with the moon. What success looks like, what it doesn’t look like. If I plan I will be more successful than I can possibly imagine
I used to think that my lack of a plan was some kind of failing.
Or that it was some kind of self defence mechanism. If I didn’t have a plan I couldn’t fail and I would never be disappointed. But I wonder if it really is a bit more straightforward than that.
Without a plan I was able to take advantages of opportunities that presented themselves to me as I went along. If I was glued to a plan I might have missed some of those things.
I might have missed the opportunity to go into teaching when I was made redundant for the umpteenth time.
I might have missed the chance to live in America as an Au Pair after finishing university.
I might not even have gone to university in the first place.
I didn’t plan to be childless but even that opened up a whole raft of opportunities I might never have experienced otherwise.
I wouldn’t have moved house twice in the space of 4 years.
I definitely wouldn’t have retired at the age of 44.
I doubt I’d be living in an apartment near the beach in Portugal.
I’d have played the oboe instead of the clarinet.
Recently, I’ve become embroiled in the idea that I should have a plan. I should have goals. I need to be successful. I need to have achieved measurable success. But I don’t think my kind of success can be measured. I don’t know that you can plan to be happy, it’s just what it is. It’s taken a bit of work to get to this point, none of it planned. How can it be? My version of happy is different to everyone else’s so how can I follow someone else’s plan to achieve that.
I can’t really imagine how having a plan would make life all that much better for me.
I now realise that my unhappiest moments have been when I’ve been planning, when I had goals. When I had plans foisted upon me. Any teacher will tell you that lessons that haven’t been planned all that well often go better than those that are planned to within an inch of their life. There’s something freeing about just going along with what may be.
What if there were no plans. No goals. What if the only goal of each day were to be happy. Content. Happy and content with what you have, here and now. What might that be like? What if, you don’t need a plan?
The advantage of having no plans is that you can’t really fail. The disadvantage of having no plan, is that you are made to feel like a bit of a failure. Which is both sad, and terrifying in equal measure.
All I do know is that an unplanned life has worked for me. There may well be opportunities I have missed. But there may well be opportunities I’ve enjoyed and might have missed because they weren’t part of any plan. I’m currently considering which modules to do next for my Open University degree. I’m torn between Creative Writing and Latin. There is no plan. There is no pros or cons list. But I’m sure it will work out just fine, and if not, then no harm done. It will all come out in the wash.
I will admit that sometimes things just don’t get done. I’ve wanted to make a dress and a couple of brooches for a while now, but they never seem to quite get completed. I’m not the least bit consistent with posting blogs. Largely because other things come up – like writing, or reading, or exercising, or crochet, or staring in to space. I can see where an element of planning could be useful and do wonder if it might be a good idea after all. But I also like to think that it something is important enough or is meant to be, it will happen, with or without a plan.
So. For now, I think I’m going to carry on living a life with no plans. It has served me well, to date. Who knows where it might just take me? I do understand that for some people this approach really would not work, but for me it means that everyday is an adventure; it allows for something a little bit more extraordinary and unexpected to come along.