Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Roadless Traveler

I woke up Sunday morning, made the coffee, walked out on the back porch and listened to the birds. It was so peaceful outside and for about 30 seconds I enjoyed it. My brain wouldn't be quiet though and the peaceful moment disappeared. I was feeling very anxious, melancholy, and uncertain, but couldn't pinpoint the cause.

I tried to quiet my mind and just be, but it wasn't cooperating, and the question that kept running through my mind was "where are you going?". At first I sort of listed to myself the activities of the day, checked off the plans for the week etc. My mind responded "where are you going?" Obviously my quick list of upcoming activities was the incorrect response: "where are you going?" I sat and thought about it on a larger scale. The only answer I could come up with was "I have no freakin idea." End of conversation with unruly and annoying inner voice.

I consulted my local oracle (Facebook) and ultimately came up with a scheme to open a bar/fishing guide service/archaeologists hang out in Belize with a few friends who also have no freakin idea. It was entertaining, but the thought stayed with me. Honestly, I am a planner for work. I plan everything, my life is a model of structure on a daily basis (being a single parent requires it). I've always had a 5-year, 10-year, 20-year plan until 3 and a half years ago. It was then that I began to plan on a day by day basis. As time has passed, I've become more able to see the road ahead and can plan 3 to 6 months ahead (Jimmy Buffet in October anyone?), but that is the extent of it. If I sit and think about it, it stresses me out. How can I have no plan? What the heck am I doing? Really, where am I going?

I'm not very good at living completely in the moment, and that is what my life lessons are trying to teach me. Living in the moment is really all we have. I can have a 10 year plan, a 20 year plan, a plan for every minute of the day, but the fact remains that my plans are an excercise in optimism. I've already learned the hard way that my plans don't always work the way I have envisioned. You'd think I'd have that particular lesson tattooed on my forehead by now. So for now, I've given up plans. If it were Lent, I'd formalize this process. For the time being I'll just tell my friends. I'm giving up planning (okay, I'll still plan parties and vacations).

I don't know what is going to happen in the future and I'm going to try my hardest to truly enjoy the present. I always say that my vacations start when I begin to pack, it isn't the destination, it's the journey. I'm going to try to apply it to my everyday life too. Do me a favor, if you see me with my planner's hat on, knock it off.

Happy Tuesday! -- Michelle D.

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