Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

The house is being painted. It is time to purge.

While tossing out old boxes, I uncover this little gem: an old “plan” of mine titled: “Life Plan.” Written: Summer 2002 (21 years old). Reads as follows (verbatim):

Aug. 2002 – Dec 2003
• Finish school w/ BA Linguistics + Mass Comm

(work some)

Jan 2004 – July 2004
• Move to Spain
• Find job
• Find apartment (live on own*[1])
• Write A LOT, drink a lot, smoke*[2]
• Eat wine and carrots and peppers for dinner every night
• Learn Spanish
• Meet someone who loves your wild ideas and crazy idiosyncrasies
• Get really thin

Aug 2004 – Aug 2007
• Move back home
• Move to the city
• Job hunt, intern maybe
(start low, but fun)
• start dating J.*[3] again
• Get serious, move in together
• Get promoted
• Go out a lot. Have fun.
• Decide to get engaged

Jan 2008
• Get married
• Get new job

…Well-
crap.

Not only did I fail to do almost everything in my miraculous Life Plan, I forgot to tell myself what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of this year, let alone rest of this life! (And I called it a “Life” Plan…)

I’m glad, at least, that I had the good sense to plan for a promotion in my career… as well as to “have fun”…

Aside from entertainment value, it was a fascinating find — a wonderful example of how our life rarely turns out how we expect it.

“If you want to make God laugh, make a plan”

Our life’s most prominent milestones are those we never planned for, over which we have no control, really.

I certainly did not, under any stretch of the imagination, plan to not get into college on my first attempt (little known fact), drop out of school due to depression at 19, work as a waitress at age 20, lose my best friend to a car accident at 22, leave the man I thought I was going to marry at 24, and then, after a ‘successful’ career in San Francisco, discover I have the resilience to city living as tissue paper does to water-
And then to move back in with my parents at age 25.
And then to lose my brother at 26.
And then…

…and yet these events carried with them invisible “navigational road signs” that altered the road I traveled; and it is events such as these — unexpected, uncontrollable, at times undesired — that drive us to our final destination: a rest stop in the town of God Knows Where.

I’m having to rework my conception of “life skills.” I had very clear ideas of who and what I would become — “well-traveled,” driven and very, very accomplished — all it took was determination. Hit the gas! Hit the gas!

But life often doesn’t, to put it bluntly, give a shit about determination. Life rewards flexibility, acceptance, open expectations.

Survival in life can not always be accomplished through accomplishments.

I’m convinced, however, there is one life parameter over which we have more control: contentment. We cannot always choose the scenery of our road trip, but can make peace with the views.

As I continue to put miles on life’s gauge — coasting down hills or pushing when out of gas — I’m happy I can even start the car.

*[1] this was double underlined
*[2] 21-year-old fantasy only; mature, 27-year-old Shannon does not condone these activities
*[1] ex-boyfriend. (oops.)

§506 · August 13, 2008 · Sonoma County Splendor, This Modern Life · · [Print]

1 Comment to “Found: Life Plan”

  1. Aunt Penni says:

    Beautiful words and ideas, Shanny
    AP (Aunt Penni)

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