That Paul Simon song
Posted on June 6th, 2013
’m not a planner.
I have other, modest talents. There are other things that I can do with relative ease and confidence. But if what you’re looking for is a person to schedule your day trip to Colonial Williamsburg, I’m going to be a true friend to you right now and tell you to look elsewhere.
A friend I had once told me that the best part of, say, taking a trip to Paris was the weeks and months of planning the experience beforehand, the opportunities the still-far-off adventure offered to say to yourself and others, ‘When I go to Paris…’ I have always remembered him saying this because the moment I heard it I recognized the truth of it. Despite my disinterest in conceiving and constructing a bridge that would take me to whatever my next great place is, I do eventually want to get there—for which I always have to devise some sorry semblance of a plan.
But let me tell you the secret benefit to living life as a Non-Planner: you almost never fall in love with a plan.
I find myself in a strange place just now, watching as several plans—mine and others’ of varying weights and importance—unravel into their galling, pre-plan nothingness. As if no one had given an ounce of thought to a desired outcome or course of events, these plans are audaciously coming shockingly undone! Some of the designs might have been old, flawed from the moment they were drafted, others just confections of wishful thinking and desire. It doesn’t matter. Each plan represented something to us, their makers: a destination perhaps, an image of ourselves that only slavish service to the plan can provide or the relative peace of an uninterrupted state of affairs.
Ask yourself, when the plan begins to buckle before you and you find yourself getting down on your hands and knees to force those rebellious, breaking parts back into the shape in which they were supposed to remain, damn it, what exactly you’re doing.
Was this part of your plan?
Indulge me for just a moment and consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, your old plan was crap; so much so, in fact that it is unmaking itself before your eyes. Instead, that old plan is in the process of becoming something unexpected and revelatory—just not something that you had expected it to be.
I know what you’re thinking: easy for you to say, Wendy, you don’t know what it means to love a plan because you never really have one. And to you, beloved naysayers, I say okay, sure, you may have a point. I crave a happy ending the same as the rest of you, though. I just happen to be of the opinion that getting there may require a couple of revisions to the outline we have clutched in our hands at the start.
But we’re resourceful, you and I. We’ll come up with something.∗