• Annie

The Plan

This is a picture of the sunset in Carmel, CA, on the eve of my 27th birthday. Goodbye, 26. Hello, 27!

Well, kids, the great California experiment is officially over. Just in time for the holidays, Nick and I packed up the car and made the long trip back east—to what future, we do not know. All we do know is that it was time for a change, and we regret nothing.

For me, I’ve never really had much of an idea how my life would turn out—not in a specific kind of way. When I was younger I wanted to be an actress, and becoming a writer was more about “well, I guess I’m good at this thing…so I should do this thing, right?” I always knew I wanted to be in a committed relationship, because I’ve always been the kind of person more interested in the particular challenges of commitment than the challenges of casual dating. I know things that I like, I know things that I don’t like, and I like to think that I know more about who I am as a person and as a woman every day. If you asked me many questions, I would be able to provide a satisfactory answer to all save the question: “What is your plan?”

I have no plan.

I am plan-less.

Every time I try to put together a plan, I completely lose interest in the plan.

Honestly I’m starting to think that plans are foolish. Isn’t there some saying? Man plans and God laughs? Although I suppose the saying that would be more appropriate for my particular predicament is “Woman plans and God laughs at woman for thinking she can actually stick to a plan for more than five minutes. I mean, she had to have braces a second time because she couldn’t even stick to the routine of wearing a retainer!”

Well, you know what, God? Laugh away! Laugh forever. Laugh yourself silly, because I am through with plans. California was a plan! Now I’m back and all too happy that the CA plan didn’t pan out. What good are my plans if they don’t hold my interest or attention? Here’s a crazy idea: what if we just threw the “plan” out of the window?

I mean, what is with this planning nonsense? Why are we all so obsessed with planning out what we’re going to do before we do it? When our plans work out, we are happy for all of five minutes until we begin planning for what comes next. More often than not, however, our plans become evidence of our own imperfect humanity. “But the plan! Oh, the plan…woe is me!”

OH I remember another saying. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

H-E-double hockey sticks yes it does.

I get it. This is all so backward. I’m supposed to begin life thinking “Screw you and your plans!” and then eventually realize “Wow, I really need a plan” as I grow and mature. However, that would be reasonable and rational and I am…not.

Look, I’m not saying all plans are terrible, I guess I’m just beginning to realize that plans are entirely fictional. So the plan didn’t work out. Who cares? It was fictional in the first place. The plan didn’t exist in nature. You created the plan, which means you can just as easily dismantle the plan and choose to replace it with a new plan, or no plan at all! It’s fictional. It’s optional. It is a creation of man. There was a time before the human plan and there will be a time after.

Predictably, I no longer have any interest in coming up with an answer to the frankly unanswerable question of “What is your plan?” Do you know what questions I’d rather answer, especially for myself? “What value can I bring to the world today?” “How can I help?” “What can I create?” “How can I leave the planet better than I found it?” “How can I love more fully?” “How can I release more of the past?” “In what way can I take care of my body and my soul?”

But because I love you guys, I will give it go, but just this once…

I plan to be happy.

I plan to create.

I plan to love.

I plan to laugh, a lot, like until my stomach hurts.

I plan to be present for every precious moment of this gift I have been given that is my life, because it is messy and imperfect and irrational and miraculous and just so god damned heartbreakingly beautiful.

That’s my plan.

What’s yours?


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© 2017 by Annie Westphal. All rights reserved.