“Planning to Make Other Plans”

“Planning to Make Other Plans”

“I never planned to be doing this” is a mantra that many say, to defend whatever action they are about to do or have just done.  It is sometimes followed by this phrase: “but life is what happens when you are making other plans.”

Maybe it’s said before you attempt to sing a karaoke rendition of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” after 12 daiquiris or maybe it’s something that you say to yourself each morning before you go to work at a job that you never aspired to do in your wildest dreams.

I wonder how many people need to have pep talks as well as coffee in the morning just to get going and do what they have to do?

It’s almost like the phrase will smite the undesirable things that we do from the record just because we didn’t map it all out first into a perfectly presented Flowchart or Power Point presentation.  Maybe we only wish that it would, and we keep saying it over and over to make ourselves feel better in the short term, and believe that someday it might actually work in the long term.

Isn’t that called hoping, though?

And furthermore, with all this talk about “Hope” in this political race, shouldn’t the candidate to win be determined by whom has the best plan to fix our tower of problems rather than who gives us the most “hope” or sells the idea of hope the best?

And what exactly is hopeful about basically promising more wars, John McCain? And if your experience is being questioned Barrack Obama, wouldn’t a mapped out plan to deliver your message of hope be the difference maker?  Wouldn’t it be smart for Hillary to be calloused and almost robotic to battle the alleged sexist cards that are being played against her to just stand up and push her message to the forefront to win votes, rather than sling mud the way that most politicians have done in the past?

I don’t know who is running the strategy department for these campaigns, but it makes me think that the longer the political race goes, the less I will want to vote for any of them.

Yet, when things go badly, it’s always blamed on the planning.

Wasn’t Dubbya’s defense of the failure to find Osama Bin Laden “we never planned to not find him (Bin Laden), but we’ve got to stay the course in Iraq (and by staying the course, he meant suck our economy into a terrible recession and weaken our military that he sunk so much money into in the process).

It certainly wasn’t Elliot Spitzer’s plan have the week that he had recently, but I find it ironic that his planning as governor to combat prostitution rings, eventually brought down his plans to cheat on his wife with a $4,000 hooker.

The mantra seems almost humorous when you place it in front of Elliot Spitzer’s story.

Sometimes, I feel like the future is less determined by planning and more so by fate.

I recall one September while driving back to college after another summer of living in Ocean City, passing the Ocean Pines exit and saying something to the effect of “who would ever plan to live on a cul-de-sac in Ocean Pines and raise kids in a former retiree village?

Several years later, I had moved from the city with wife and child to a little starter house in Ocean Pines on yes, a cul-de-sac. And though I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world, even the few years of dealing with the “lawn gestapo” in the Pines, isn’t it funny how the things that we used to be so adamantly against, turn out not to be that bad. 

If someone would’ve told me 10 years ago that I would have sea foam green furniture and I would have both a Macy’s and a Gap credit card, I would have probably taken a swing at them.  Yet, 10 years later, and having those things, it really isn’t a big deal and doesn’t really say much about me other than I bought clothes at Gap before (who hasn’t) and that I chose the furniture for my home that wasn’t orgy red, redneck plaid, or condo seashell.  I guess in my mind, it puts me into a category of people that I perhaps never wanted or planned to be a part of, and that is unsettling to me based on the simplistic and rural upbringing that I had.

I was always afraid to be one of those yuppie types that is soft and arrogant and out of touch with the realities of the simple folk.  Yet, I know that I wanted to experience a different or more sophisticated style of living than Friday night wing-o-rama at the local dive bar so I headed toward the city determined to experience life without losing my sense of self and to maybe in the process, try caviar.

So in the struggle to walk the line with who you planned to be and who fate planned for you to be, you develop some checks and balances to determine whose head is in check and whose lifestyles have balance.

I think most people call them pet peeves.

For instance, I hate personalized license plates.  What type of yuppie freak has to make a statement like “I SELL OC” on the back of their leased Mercedes?  It bothers me and that has little to do with the fact that I learned to drive at 14 on a tractor while bailing hay. 

I have many sweaters, and some even are made of cashmere.  I used to think that cashmere sweaters were meant to be tied around the neck of people named Porter who wear penny loafers without socks and winter in Aruba.  Any idiot with $100 can buy a cashmere sweater, but why would anyone care what the hell your sweater is made out of.  It’s still a sweater, and that should be that.  I’ve got one, and it’s comfortable, but not warm like a sweater should be.  That is the point of sweaters: warmth, right?

Anyway, I could go on for literally hours, but this is inevitably the point that I’m trying to make:  It doesn’t make you a yuppie scumbag just because you prefer Chevre to Velveeta or if you want granite countertops or if you have a cleaning lady.

What makes you a yuppie scum is if you think that you are better than other people for trying them, and that you can simply buy happiness with home décor, cars, and or material possessions.

You can drive yourself crazy trying to plan out each step of your life, but if life is what happens when you’re making other plans, what are we making ourselves so crazy for?