Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Being a Casual Planner

Yayoi Kusama at The Whitney
A track fire on the way home halted all service on the D and R trains to Manhattan today. After waiting a while for a bus and seeing one fly by full of passengers I walked nearly thirty blocks to get to my train. It was a really nice walk all along Greenwood Cemetery and through South Slope. It gave me a chance to think about the coming months and to set some tentative plans in place.

I have always been a planner. I think it's a result of how my parents raised me and my brother. I remember being in middle school thinking about plans for my adult life. I had it mapped out - college, medical school, married by 25 and have my first kid by 27. Clearly that didn't happen. Lots of things didn't happen the way that I thought they would but I'm thankful for those experiences. Even the very painful experiences in my life have led the way for something bigger and better. That wasn't always clear when I was in the midst of some crazy upheaval but years later it's obvious to me that I had to go through those things in order to get to the next step in my life.

The good thing is that if my long term plans don't pan out I don't get upset. It's a weird and contradictory part of my nature. I will plan for things far out into the future but if it plays out in a completely different way I don't get stressed out. I just go with it. For me planning is not an exercise in rigidity but an exercise in motivation and organization. As long as there's some kind of goal that I'm working towards, regardless if it works out or not, it's something to keep me moving forward.

When I moved here I was at a loss about what the next step was going to be. I had prepared for months for my move east and when I finally got here I remember thinking "Uh, okay. So what's next?" Now I'm looking at the next big step in my life and there are so many parts and pieces that still need to come together. The wedding is getting closer and I feel like there are a million small and niggling details that Jon and I need to get through. We need to plan his move to Brooklyn and then, um, get married. Then there are the longer term plans that we have to think about like kids (eep) and if we want to settle down here or move again in the future. There's also the question about whether or not the grant that funds my salary will be renewed and even if it is whether or not I want to continue in this career path or start to make the transition towards my dream career.

Surprisingly I am not stressed out about this. Truly! It helps to know that Jon is there and that we are making these plans together. The burden is being shared. It also helps to know that in the past when things have been uncertain the pieces all seem to fall into place. I used to call it luck but I think it's something else. My brother pointed out that people create their own luck. Meaning that things don't just happen but actually you work hard and position yourself in a way that makes it easy for things to fall into place.

I'll just keep doing what I've been doing and see where it leads me. Thus far it's brought me to New York, something I never expected. It's exciting to think about what else the future holds.


  1. Your middle-school plan sounds a lot like mine, except mine was law school. My dad completely stymied me by asking "what if you don't meet someone to get married to by then?" or something like that. I had no response.


    1. Oh parents, always having to show how much smarter they are. :)