Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Plan or Not to Plan

The only real, formal plan I had this summer was a one week reunion with my siblings.  Camping trips, a water park or two, barbecues, and house projects were just normal summer things that I assumed we would plug in before school started again.  We all know what happens when we assume. School starts in one week and none of our normal summer highlights have occurred.  I feel like an ass.

I have good excuses for how my summer derailed.  First off and most importantly, it felt cruel to go camping or to a water park when my youngest son would have to sit out with his broken leg.  Then, I had the super hot, killer temps that forced me into a fetal position, whining in front of the air conditioner, instead of painting, for big chunks of June and July. And of course there was the Olympics, that seemingly made it impossible to do anything except watch...and watch...and watch.

Missed weekend trips and lingering house projects are not the end of the world. I know this well. Some of the things that filled our summer could never have been known about even if we had sat around the dining room table intentionally plotting out a vacation adventure.  Since we had no plans (other than the fabulous week with my sibs) we were able to respond in the moment and travel to be with family when there was an unexpected death.  We spent other weekends helping my brother-in-law with a big out of state move.  Not planning -it's not a bad thing necessarily. 

Last weekend though, I had no plans except for a brief work commitment and an evening barbecue.  We got an invitation to join our friends at a lake house and I was so excited.  I'd have to move some things around but it could work.  Then a last minute update came through Facebook that my son's youth group was going to have an overnight lock-in.  I got frustrated, feeling the tug-of-war between my wants and my kids.  Just as I had my son agreeing that a lake house sounded better than staying up all night with other teenagers, I got a message from a friend who currently lives in England.  She was in town with her family and wanted to get together, you guessed it of course, during the lake house weekend. It's a great unexpected and rare opportunity to see a good friend AND it's backing out on my dearest friend who lives just miles away but who I see only occasionally. Yay! and Ugh! all in the same moment.

Do other people go through this?  Tell me it's not just me.  If I planned better would some type of firm clarity take hold?  Am I jerked around so much because I haven't pinned things down?  Or is my fluid planning allowing me to take advantage of  unexpected opportunities and the needs of people I love?  This weekend I know exactly what I'm doing and it's big.  We'll be hosting my brother-in-law as he helps us put a new roof on our garage, grilling most of our meals, and going school shopping for the boys.  Unless of course it rains...
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  1. I love this post, Lisa. I often feel like I've let time get away from me and not done all that I want to do. And I am such a schedule-lover that I struggle with enjoying unexpected plans, regardless of how fun or enjoyable they are. My initial reaction is to bristle at any "surprises" that throw things off course.

  2. I'm a big planner but often this leads to not being able to be as spontaneous as I'd like. Lately I've been putting out calls to friends sharing where our family will be (at the beach, at the North Park Village Nature Center, etc.) and inviting friends to join in - no need to RSVP!

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