by Michelle Lynn
“So what’s your plan?” Everyone, even strangers and advertisements, want to know my New Year’s Eve plan right now. All this pressure to have a plan has had my head spinning for about a week. I am not joking. Most people that know me understand that I’m not much of a planner. For some reason, however, people are often under the false impression that I am super organized and meticulous in everything I do. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I make a plan, I feel stifled. I worry that something will happen, and I will disappoint people if I don’t come through. When people start questioning me for details about my plan, I get stressed out and just avoid the topic all together. It could be something as simple as what I want for dinner. Doesn’t matter what it is. If there is an expectation that I have a plan, then the harder it is for me to commit to anything.
Recently, a good friend of mine asked me to contribute to a website for writers that he’s working on. It’s a wonderful idea. I love to write, and I have had all good intentions of contributing to the project. When it got down to the “nitty-gritty," however, topics, due dates, and such- I suddenly became paralyzed. I couldn’t even provide a two sentence description of myself for a bio. I was thinking something like, “Quirky, independent creator that can’t find the directions to life and probably wouldn’t bother to read them even if she did. Loves people, but doesn’t always get people. Caution- may get glitter in your eyes.” Then I started thinking too much, because that’s what I do. I don’t plan, but I do think. I wasn’t sure that I fit with the intended plan of the site. I am an English teacher badly in need of an editor. I don’t pay attention to the constraints of standard conventions when writing how I like to write, and all the people I know and respect constantly post slams from the Grammarly site about people that don’t even know the rules of basic English. I know those rules, but I use hyphens and ellipses like they are going out of style. I also switch tenses constantly, because my brain doesn’t adhere to the space time continuum. Besides, the first writing topic had something to do with “the fear of the unknown.” I don’t even think I know what that means. I’m pretty sure if anything I have more of a fear of the known.
Forgive me. I know I really digressed here, but hang in there. This fear of the known does relate to my fear of generating and sticking to a plan. There is something about me that doesn’t like routine or set expectations. I know that my mind is spontaneous, and I can be fickle- or as I prefer to call it- whimsical. I have no idea what I will feel like doing in an hour, let alone a week or a year from now. Some people may call that wishy washy, but my basic core beliefs are pretty much always the same. I like people, and I have people I love and am loyal to. I’m just not always interested in doing something because I’m supposed to, or because everyone else is doing it to. I’ve discovered that a lot of people like the comfort of the known. Some people spend their whole lives trying to establish that sense of normalcy and level of comfort. They are afraid of the unknown, but to me, always having a plan, and always trying to know what is going to happen next, takes a little of the fun and excitement out of life. I also don’t like feeling the need to explain myself to others. Well, let me rephrase that to be more accurate. I don’t like feeling the need to explain myself to others on their terms. I’m obviously perfectly content explaining myself away when the mood strikes me and the timing is just right. I just don’t want to feel like it’s an expectation.
So back to my lack of a New Year’s Eve plan. My plan is to not do what everyone tells me I should be doing. My plan is my own creation of things that I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to do: 1) condition my hair with jojoba and coconut oil, 2) drink some of this tea I bought a while ago just because I like the gypsy girl on the label, 3) watch these movies that no one else ever wants to watch with me, 4) work up a design to make some decorative pillows with this really cool, old-timey, steam-punkish fabric I’ve had for a while. 5) refill my aroma therapy room diffuser with my favorite peace and harmony essential oil, 6) do something with guacamole, 7) refuse to go back and proofread this post, and 8) maybe read over more of the details about that writing project and actually follow through with some of the needed steps in the plan.
Maybe it is possible to have a nuance of a plan without being completely overwhelmed by the known. As I type this though, I am beginning to wonder if maybe I do have a bit of the fear of the unknown. Perhaps I still worry too much about the unknown feelings and reactions I will get from others. Could avoiding plans and expectations relate to me wanting to avoid potentially negative responses of others? I don’t know.
My New Year’s resolution, because I know that’s the next thing everyone will ask, is this. In 2015, I am going to try and do more of what I want to do. I am going to be more of the person I want to be, and I am going to try and do all of this regardless of how I perceive everyone else plans or expects me to be. I don’t know what this will bring, but I’m okay with that.