Saturday, September 28, 2013

Stop Planning; Start Living

"It's hard to make plans with a moving target." 

My dad said this to me today as he was walking around the house frustrated that our Saturday plans made no sense. Mom was talking about shopping and having my brother come over, but she had no plan, no idea what time any of this would happen, and no lunch plans. Dad had work to do and his time to do it was being interrupted. I was waiting on Ian to get here so we could edit photos (which turned out awesome, by the way). 

But his words hit me harder than he realized. I'm a planner. I wasn't always like that. Somewhere between graduating high school and graduating college, I changed. Somehow, I felt safer and more prepared and more organized if I had a general "plan" for my life. I wanted to graduate, get married, and have kids by 23. Well, I turn 23 in a couple months, so obviously my plan isn't happening. But why does that frustrate me? Why can't I be like many other people and just "go with the flow of life"? 

Today, my dad answered that question. It's because the future is unknown. And, as somebody who finds peace in knowing how things are going to happen, it's frustrating to me. So I end up stressing about things and beating them into the ground until Ian is sick of hearing about them. But at least now I know why. And now, I can control my emotions. I may not know what will happen four years from now. There's no set-in-stone date that I can strive for. No more graduations to plan for. My future is open-ended. 

As a writer, not everyone likes open-endings because the audience likes to feel some sort of resolution. But in life, there's no cute last chapter I can write about "10 Years Later." In real life, life beyond the present is black, illuminating itself one day at a time. 

So today, I am going to take my dad's advice. I'm not going to try to plan my future when it's a "moving target." The future is always changing unpredictably. So why stress myself out and Hail Mary my emotions into the darkness? Today, without knowing it, my father shared his wisdom with me, and I will be eternally grateful. 

Today, I'm going to stop trying to control something that's uncontrollable. Instead, I'll control what I can: my happiness with the present. 

:)