Life

The Plan & The Planner

I’m a planner. In my professional and personal life, I like to have a plan, I like to know what to expect. I love to-do lists, the satisfaction I get when I check something off my list. Everyday before I leave my office I make a list for the next day, sometimes the same “to-do” makes the list several days in a row before it gets a check, but the list still helps me prioritize my tasks and plan my day. I mentally think about the list I’ve left for myself on my way to the office the next morning. I remind Siri often to “remind me to add such and such to my list”. Some days nothing gets checked off my list, some days I am in and out of meetings and I leave each meeting with a new to do list. I can roll with those punches, but at some point all of my lists are condensed to one so I can visually see what needs to be done and again prioritize. Organized chaos I can tolerate, in a perfect world there would always be order, but I’ll take what I can get.

I spent several years as an event planner and that suited me well for obvious reasons. On top of being a planner by nature, I picked up a few extra OCD-ish traits. One of these traits is to always anticipate what could go wrong. Preparing for an event, my mentor trained me to anticipate problems, it was my job to plan the event to prevent issues from occurring but I also had to have a plan just in case something fell through the cracks. I needed a plan, a backup plan, and a few sub-plans. You see the trend,  plans. Professionally, these are desirable traits and they have helped me advance at a relatively good pace.

Personally, these traits can be a challenge, more so when they are coupled with anxiety. Yes, I struggle with anxiety. Always thinking of what could go wrong is obviously not an awesome trait, it is exhausting. Over planning can be quite problematic as well, planning means having certain expectations and sometimes those expectations aren’t fair, they’re not realistic. I’m not saying don’t have expectations, have high expectations but, for me, I need to be more fluid with my thoughts.

Idle time, idle time alone, to be more specific, isn’t kind to me. I enjoy time at home, I love my home, but after a lazy afternoon or a snow day, I am completely restless. Sometimes I feel a sense of regret, annoyance that I didn’t get more accomplished. I’ve not outgrown my need for structure, for routine, if anything I cling to and value these things now more than ever. Routine makes me feel safe. Knowing what is next makes me feel secure. I’m basically a toddler who needs a good bedtime routine.

Uncertainty. Uncertainty is some kind of torture for me. I can take most anything, except not knowing. Waiting. I don’t wait well. My therapist, (yep, I have one of those) says I get so anxious waiting for the other shoe to drop that I throw it, just to have an outcome. She’s not wrong, I’ve thrown a metaphorical shoe or two in my day. On days of uncertainty, I’m easily agitated, I’m overall preoccupied and I tend to pick at whatever it is that has me feeling out of sorts. I build myself up until I can’t handle anymore uncertainty and I “throw the metaphorical shoe”. This isn’t a great habit.

I’m selling myself short when I “throw the shoe”, when I let my anxiety get the best of me, I know that. The thing with anxiety though is that you can think logically but not respond logically. I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year so I’ll submit one a little late (as much as I hate to be late).

Having a plan makes me feel safe but it doesn’t protect me from life’s plan. Life goals? Let go and let God. I believe in my heart of hearts that what is meant for me will come and stay. What is not meant for me won’t. I don’t want to “throw shoes” but I also don’t want to cling to anything that isn’t meant for me. Similar to the idea that you shouldn’t carry a mountain you’re only supposed to climb. I’ve carried more than my fair share of mountains.

My life isn’t an event I can control, I can plan until I’m blue in the face, but life will laugh and happen anyway. My resolution? Grace. There is grace in letting go. Grace in acceptance. Grace in loving and truly living regardless of our circumstances. I know I will stumble along the way, but there is also a tremendous amount of grace in imperfection and forgiveness. I always think of forgiving others but sometimes who we really need to forgive is ourselves. I am not perfect and that’s okay.

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So what if we’re not perfect? So what if we let people see who we really are, beyond the snapshots of Facebook and Instagram. Since I’ve started this blog I’ve had people open up to me, share their stories with me, their troubles. Thank you for trusting me with that, thank you for letting me be someone you feel safe with. You inspire me.

Embrace who you are. It’s enough. You are enough. So, here’s to grace. 

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