I am someone who wants to plan every aspect of my life. Before I go to a restaurant, I often review the online menu so I can plan my order before arriving. And before I hit the road, I use Google Maps and look up which path will be the fastest and easiest. (I hate U-turns with a fiery passion). This one is hard to admit but I can't even walk into a cafeteria without having a strategic idea of where, when, and who I'm eating with. Do I know anyone in the cafeteria or am I eating alone? Should I go at a normal lunch hour or wait until 2 p.m. so I don't have trouble finding a seat? Am I eating near the corner of the room by the trash cans or in the center where everyone can see me? I have an awful habit of wanting to plan every little detail of my life.
And I know I'm not alone. (Hello fellow meticulous master planners and obsessive organizers)
Recently I discovered this obsessive behavior hinders my potential to go new places or meet new people. I try to be a social butterfly, but as of now, I'd consider myself a social moth. I don't drive places I don't know the ins and outs of. I avoid events where I know less than three people and I want to change that. This past week I have slowly but surely been going on a "no-plan" cleanse and let me tell you; it is liberating.
The first step I took was a simple one, taking a new route to the mall. (There was no dreaded u-turn, don't worry.) This may seem like such a mundane and meaningless change but believe it or not it sparked a complete change in my routine. The very next day, I went to a restaurant and did not feel the need the menu beforehand. I made last minute plans with friends versus the regular two weeks ahead. And I went to the cafeteria alone... ended up finding my friends on the way but it's the thought that counts.Life is full of wonderful surprises if you allow them to happen.
But then I thought about it and huh... not all surprises are good...
Life can't give you the good without the bad and I find that by trying to plan everything in my power, I am becoming less and less adaptable to change. Change is good, and a crucial element in humanity. Think about it. Our entire existence is based on the adaptability skills of our ancestors. If we continue to organize our lives and expect it to work out like a movie script, we become less cooperative or even angry at the world.
I did everything right. How could this have happened.
The sooner we realize we can't plan for everything, the better. And it's important to be wary that planning is not synonymous with prepared. Planning can for sure help with preparation of a bad storm or a broken heart or whatever darkness comes your way. It's over planning and high expectations that will leave you crushed with the words, "but I did everything right." It doesn't matter how neat your daily organizer is, bad things will happen. And don't get me wrong, good things happen, too. But in order to appreciate the good and move on from the bad, we need to be less controlling and more adaptable.
It's amazing the different scenery you see when you try route B versus the regular route A. And you'd be surprised at the interesting conversations you have at events where you know less than three people. Planning and organizing are nice and all but don't let it control your every move like I used to. Planning is a tool and a great skill, but don't let it be a restriction.