Friday, February 19, 2010

Planning For That Which Does Not Yet Exist


In the scope of human personalities, there is a spectrum. On one side are the people who fly by the edge of their seat, throw caution to the wind and make decisions as they come. These people embrace adventures and excitement and hate to commit to things prematurely.

I am on the other side of this spectrum

I like to have things scheduled in advance. I like to have time to anticipate making a decision, collect all information that could contribute to the decision making process, and make an informed one. This is not to say that I am incapable of making quick decisions, I just prefer to have time to prepare and investigate.

As a planner or a procrastinator, there are some decisions that need to be made without knowing whether those decisions will ever matter.

Welcome to my life.

I am currently in this state of limbo, feverishly making lists of things to do “in the event of…”. We will find out where Curtis has been placed for residency one month from today, and with a (potential) cross country move on the horizon, I am helpless to combat my plan-making tendencies—even if it may not come to fruition. Curtis and I have talked through so many plans and discussed so many scenarios, considering everything from keeping/selling/purchasing vehicles, to keeping/selling/moving everything we own.

Sometimes in the midst of a perfectly normal conversation one of us will point to some household item and ask “Would we keep this?”

Our dented trashcan (that we love).
Our first set of dishes (which though inexpensive, are still in perfectly good condition)
Our beautiful bookcases (purchased from an elderly man, who was selling all of his furniture to move in with his children)
Our books. (We have so many books. So many.)

But the looming possibility of a move has brought to my mind all of the things we plan for, without knowing whether or not they will happen. I am planning for a track season, but the (unfortunate) reality is that all the kids could decide to do baseball and softball and I would be left with a meet schedule and training plan that no one will ever use.

I am planning for the arrival of (multiple) babies from friends, and while everything points to healthy growing children, I am not so naïve that I have not known tragedy in the most unexpected places.

We plan to the best of our knowledge, but must recognize that despite our best efforts, things may entirely change.

My husband read an article recently that talked about change. Some people, regardless of planning tendencies, embrace it, while others shy away at every turn. Change, for better or for worse, equals loss: the loss of something that existed before, something that can often never be regained.

But while change is loss, it is also gain. Planning for the future is planning for the addition of something: a season, a child, a move. New experiences, new people, new places. These are good and beautiful things. But in my preparation, as much as I anticipate the arrival of good, I mourn for the loss of what was.

Because in mourning the loss of what will soon be gone, I wallow in my love and enjoyment for it, appreciating every detail.


  1. Wow! Your an amazing writer. I needed that too, because I'm also in a state of limbo on what will be in the next few months. Big Changes, but I'm also mourning the loss of what I have currently. Thanks for writing this post..Much needed here! Have a great weekend.

  2. Beautiful post, as always. I'm oneof those people who likes change...good or bad, it's exciting for me. We moved at a few key points in my life and I liked the fresh start. I liked making new friends and the adventure of the unknown. I still do and now that we've lived in this house for 2 years without plans of moving any time soon, I'm learning to put down roots and really foster lasting friendships with those in my life. It's not easy for me but I'm learning. I'm excited to see where life takes you!

  3. I love this post! I am a big planner, and always get knocked on my butt when life does not go according to plan!

  4. Great post!

    I keep my fingers crossed in hopes that Matty will get a transfer abroad one of these days (Switzerland is currently my choice location in the dream in my head).

    But I don't spend much time considering the reality of that dream, although I am a planner, too. I guess that's because the reality is what you posted today: picking and choosing and packing and moving!

    But, as you said, although change is loss, it's also gain so that's enough permission for me to continue ignoring the realities and instead keep focusing on the dream!