The future planner in me is confounded

future planningIt’s Monday morning. Another week is up and running. Time to check in with plans and to-do’s for the week and beyond.

Planning is in my DNA. I’m a look-ahead kind of person. What are we going to do next year, next summer, next week, tomorrow? Every idea adds color, topography and glorious anticipation to the future. These are transformed into checklists, dream lists, calendar entries and itineraries, which propel me forward with enthusiasm and gusto.

My motto for the kids has always been “give your future self a gift“. Do something today you’ll be glad you have done tomorrow.

As our calendars are hit with cancellations now reaching into April and May, events in June and July are also shining less brightly on the horizon. How do I think about the rest of the year? What shape will it take? It no longer looks like a colorful landscape dotted with family birthday parties, cohousing workshops, high school graduations, girls retreat in the Hill Country, wedding showers and a much anticipated son’s wedding in Ireland. It looks like a big flat empty expanse – nothing punctuating the horizon. Just Zoom calls, long walks and weekly trips to scavenge for groceries.

What should I be doing now that would be a gift to my future self?

Right now, I’m still groping around in the dark trying to create small look-ahead ideas — things that will feed my future self, things I’ll be glad I did when this is all over. Reinvigorating my daily writing practice. Taking more time to call old friends. Redesigning a cozy family birthday dinner this week into a 10-foot-apart gathering at a local park. None of these venture very far ahead of where we are today. Cancellations on top of cancellations would be too disheartening.

Any version of the future I construct right now seems either too unrealistic or too dismal to spend my energy on. I’m digging deeper into the present day and week. I’m wondering if time will appear to slow down? I’m wondering if I will be changed by this — will I still be a ‘look-ahead’ kind of person when this is all over?

2 thoughts on “The future planner in me is confounded

  1. Jan March 23, 2020 / 12:55 pm

    Thank you, Lynn for sharing your thoughts, fears, challenges and so much more. Each post has hit home with me in some way but today’s really identified one of my biggest challenges in all this. I have always been a planner, enjoying the process and the anticipation almost as much as the eventual activity or trip. Your writing is helping me feel more connected. Again, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rhonda Sweeney March 23, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    I too am a future planner — a coworker once said “Plan your work and work your plan”. It guided everything in my work life and for 50 years my life since college. An empty calendar is anathema, but that is what is facing me. Experience shows that after 9/11 younger people were not as focused on “stuff” but on experiences with their friends, less buying, more fun. I think after this time, there will be other shift, perhaps more staying close to home — family, friends, and perhaps more being in our homes? Time will tell. Now, what would my future self be happy about right now — using the time to seriously declutter! Downsize, get rid of junk on the 3rd floor (basically storage) that is just waiting to be tossed. Clean out the closet of clothes that never will be worn again (business suits!), and bag all the books that should go to 1/2 Price books when they reopen.

    Liked by 1 person

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