Plans. They never stay the same.
Last week, I said I was going to try and do the Portland Bucket List as my blog this week. That never happened and yesterday, while I was plotting what I would do on my quiet Friday, I remembered that “Shit, it’s a Friday, that means I’m supposed to blog! Damnit!” So the plan had to be revised. No Bucket List. What the hell was I going to write about?
We all make plans. Big grandiose plans about where we’re going to be in five, ten years and minor, immediate plans like what we’re going to have for dinner. Both kinds of plans get completely over turned by things we never saw coming. And sometimes things we totally should have seen coming and then didn’t. Like dinner. You plan to make yourself some nice pasta carbonara for dinner, use up the left over bacon from brunch the other day and then you open the fridge and realize that some asshole drank all the last of the milk that morning. Worst of all, you remember it was you, all along. Damnit, self, and your need to have milk with your cereal. And perhaps, more poignantly, damnit self for forgetting you drank all of the milk and not stopping at the store on the way home like you said you would when you drank the last of the milk that morning.
But it’s interesting the plans that don’t change. Sure, pasta carbonara is nixed, but you still need to eat dinner. Maybe you’ll even improvise spaghetti, so your plan didn’t even get out of the range of where you started. Or maybe it did. Maybe you didn’t cook anything, went out for sushi instead. The point is, you still got dinner, even when the perfect plan went completely haywire.
Big plans do this too. Only worse. Because it’s one thing to plan dinner for a night or even a week. But when you start planning into the future, you have no idea what’s going to happen. Everything changes in a week, in a day. How much more so in a year?
And it’s complicated even more so by the fact that when you start making your plans, you have no fucking clue what you’re actually getting yourself into. Or maybe you’re one of those smart people who comes up with an idea and then researches how it actually goes down so that when you start chasing your plan down, you know the shape of it and only a third of the surprises are actual surprises.
I’m not one of those people. Oh, I have some amount of foresight. I know to put money away for the future, I do my best to plan for dinner before I’m too hungry to implement anything, I can see that some decisions are terrible choices before I make them, and thus don’t. But when it comes to where I want to be in five, ten years? Yeah, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started on the path I’m stumbling down now.
I’m talking about my writing, which I will do a lot in this blog. I’m working on getting published, one step at a time, and have been since I was a sprog. And when I was about seventeen, I’ll admit that the first step in this process took me by surprise. That step being, “Well, write a book first.”
You never want to believe that all of the steps and the amount of time that people tell you this plan is going to take, is in fact the number of steps and amount of time this is actually going to take you. When I was seventeen, sure, I understood intellectually that I had to finish something before I could get anywhere near publishing it. But in my heart of hearts, I really wanted to believe that some publisher was just going to show up on my doorstep and give me money to write because I WAS THAT AWESOME.
Still hasn’t happened. I did eventually figure out, in my heart of hearts, that first step was, in fact, write a book. Then figured out that, yeah, you really have to edit the damn thing you wrote. Then figured out, yeah, you really have to edit it more than one time. Still working on that one, actually.
And don’t get me started on anything that comes after. This is an evolving, changing plan. Just like any other. The point is, I’m not where I thought I would be at seventeen or even where I thought I would be at twenty two. But the plan still hasn’t changed. Write stuff. Get published. Rinse and repeat. Figure out everything else as you go.
It’s a process. But it’s the only way to get anything, from your dream job to dinner each night.
And now, I should really go put pants on and see about getting milk. Because I’m not planning on making pasta carbonara, but if I want milk in my tea tomorrow morning, I need to exercise a little foresight here. Though I guess I could make pasta carbonara…
(The best part is, this blog was ALSO not planned. Totally had something else in mind last night when I had the realization of “Shit. Friday. Blogging.” And then did I did this instead…)