Small steps for a grand plan

First day of school: definitely a small step in a grand plan!

Today I had one of those come-to-insert-higher-power-of-choice moments. It started as a slight scolding from someone who is looking out for me in more than one way (which I deserved), twisted and turned into “I’ve been where you are” stories, and ended on a positive, action-oriented note.

“Help me help you” isn’t just a memorable line from Jerry Maguire — it’s something we have each heard at least once in our lives, maybe more often when we feel like we’re at a crossing in the woods, in the road, or whatever your path is in life. And in order to to help someone help you, you have to listen, and you have to be willing to take small steps to get to your grand plan – your “grander version of you.”

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Making plans?

I’m a planner. A think-aheader. An organizer, a routine person. Anyone who knows me, knows that about me. I have lists to check off and dates to remember and goals to meet and visions to pursue. In some arenas, I pride myself on this. It makes me feel productive, and somehow, it comforts me.

But lately, I’ve been realizing how sometimes, planning ahead isn’t possible and it isn’t the best way to go about things. For instance, planning out the BIG aspects of your life: marriage, kids, career, where you’ll live, etc. Don’t get me wrong – thinking about these things and having ideas about them isn’t bad. But I know that I can, and I’m sure other people can, fall into a rut of imagining their lives so far in advance before certain things have even happened, so much so that it can take away from living in the moment, and take away from you doing the things you truly want to do and being the person you want to be.

Parents are good at these times, to remind you to be selfish while you can, before you have obligations, before it’s too late. As someone in a serious relationship, I know that I often think about what will happen in a few years and what it means for the things I want to do in life. There’s trade-offs. It’s inevitable that we give things up to be with someone else. That’s where planning ahead too much can make things harder. Suddenly, the plan to get married in 3 years and have kids 2 years later and live in City X for 5 years before moving to City Y isn’t so appealing if it means you might have to sacrifice other things you love.

As this year moves forward, it’s part of my “plan” to not plan so much. Now is the time to figure out what I want to do – and go do it.