Five-year plans. I began making them at an early age, knowing exactly which courses I’d take my senior year in high school when I was still in eighth grade. My major was decided before I started college, and I was picking up brochures about graduate school during my freshman orientation. My mother would describe this as me rushing my life away; I saw it as having direction.
The first time one of these plans was challenged by that little thing called life, I called my dad in tears from my college apartment. “But this isn’t how I planned it,” I cried. There was talk of “best laid plans” and giving G-d a good laugh when we try to plan out our lives. Of course, that didn’t stop little ‘ole Type-A me from continuing to do so. How do you live without a plan? That’d be like making a road trip without a map. Or taking a vacation without an itinerary. I’m getting heebee jeebees just thinking about it.
Several failed five-year plans later, I now know the importance of revising my mindset. When what I want changes, when priorities shift, when life throws me the unexpected, I can whine about things not going according to plan, or I can, as Fagin so humorously sings, review the situation and think it out again (or, more realistically, do both). My life is a work in progress. Like my writing, it needs to constantly be practiced, nurtured, evaluated, and revised.
As I stare down the reality of my third layoff in two years (who says lightning never strikes the same place twice?), never mind my five-year plan. I need a new right-now plan. I honestly don’t know what that looks like yet, but as I begin to figure it out, I hope to stay true to what I want (also TBD), modifying my life to reflect not only what my current reality is, but also what I need from this ensuing chapter. Until the next revision, that is.