To Plan or Not to Plan?

Five days until I leave for Bar Harbor!   The “to do” list is getting shorter.   For the first time in my life, I’m going somewhere without having a specific plan.   Even on vacations I would have “the list”.  The list of hikes I wanted to take, the list of supplies I would need to buy once I got there.   And in my daily life I carry a variety of lists:  Books to read, what I need at the grocery store, what tasks get done each day.   And I create goal lists:   What do I want to accomplish in the next 3 months, 6 months, a year.    All this planning and list creation has given me a sense of purpose, and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment as I cross things off the list.   “Done”, “Finished”.    I have taken pride in being so focused, so results oriented.   These skills have served me well in the past – in my career, in starting a business, and yes, even in making this move!

But this move signals a shift in my thinking about planning.   I have focused so much on “getting there”, that little or no time has been spent on what I will do once I arrive.  Yes, I’ve thought about how I might find a part-time job, yes I’ve thought about some organizations I could volunteer with as a way to meet people, etc..    But strangely (for me),  I have not written one “to do” list for after I arrive in Maine.    And it feels absolutely wonderful!

I have been working on adopting the philosophy of one my heroes (Roz Savage – first woman to row Atlantic/Pacific/Indian oceans – yes I said ROW);  of living with “the ultimate flexibility”.   This means essentially that while having goals is certainly acceptable (and even desirable), we must recognize that we need to be adaptable in how and when we achieve those goals.   In other words, some things can be controlled, but most cannot.    Along with this thinking comes the idea that in order to grow as individuals we must be open to the unexpected in our lives.    Because sometimes the unexpected can provide us with opportunities for learning new things, meeting new people, and seeing sights we would not otherwise see when we are so focused on implementing “our plan”.

So I am approaching this move to Maine with “the ultimate flexibility”.    People have asked me: “what are you going to do once you get there”?   I’ve responded with “work on my photography, do yoga, hike, volunteer, look for a job”, and yes, I hope to do all those things.  But I also hope to be open to new experiences and opportunities that I cannot even imagine today.

As Emily Dickenson wrote so simply and eloquently:  “Dwell in Possibility”.



About Carol Page-Potter

I am a woman in the midst of reconnecting with life after the death of my husband.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You inspired me to write a little ditty:

    You can make up lists
    Of things to do
    Then follow those lists from item to item
    Until they’re all through!

    Or, you can toss the lists
    And the items they hold
    And, determined, vow to no longer fight’em
    And then feel freedom unfold.

  2. It will be a challenge for me to toss those lists!!

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