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Planning, Action, and Dreams

Planning is Picking Your Destination

There is a part of planning something to death that I am massively guilty of. Look at my recent move for the proof. But there was a point where all I could do was plan. I couldn’t actually take any action because I was waiting for the literal time to happen so that I could get other things in process. It also kept me from looking backwards. 

I will say that because of the lockdown and the lack of other interaction with people I was able to dwell on it a bit more than I would have had I been able to go and do all the other usual things that consume my pre-COVID-19 daily life. 

But I did figure out a plan or six that kept me from freaking out when things didn’t fit in the truck the way I initially planned. Or the tire that wasn’t flat, but was flat.

Still holding out on that one…

But I digress from going on about that. Planning is about figuring out where you even want to go. Do you want to drive straight on through from Charleston to Nashville and eat miles going up 26 till you hit I-40? Or do you want to take a side trip and see people in Charlotte for a little while? 

Knowing that information allows you the ability to decide where and when you’re going somewhere rather than just flying by the seat of your pants. There is a time and a place for that sort of thing, and it requires a lot more goosebumps to get me to just go with the flow. 

Action is Traction

It is a lot easier to change direction if you find out that you’re on course for a crash when you are still moving than when you are stopped. The same is true of about all of life. My brand of Christianity gets me into trouble when I explain it, so here we try.

I feel that the Lord helps those who help themselves. Not because they were right or that the actions they took are the actual path to salvation, but if you’re out and about doing the things that you have been called to do, it’s a hell of a lot easier to see the Lord work in the small ways in your life than if you were sitting in your room doing nothing.

It also reminds me of my favorite dating advice, from my mother, even if she doesn’t remember it, I do. So I’m going to share it with all of you.

Because it’s brilliant.

This is during my freshman year of college. I’d come home for Christmas and everyone at their church was asking who I was dating. Not how my classes were at all.

Which considering these were people that supposedly knew me, did they really thinking I would give up an opportunity to A) sleep in however much I want, and B) learn stuff? At least they could have asked about the classes.

Anyways this was after break was over and in a miracle call home(I called home four times total freshman year.) talking to my mom I was bemoaning not dating and all the questions and she snapped.

‘The Lord has a plan. Are you going out meeting people and you know, Mr. Right just hasn’t shown up? Cool, that just means the Lord has other things for you to do first. OR, my child, are you hiding in your room, not meeting anyone, not making friends, not socializing at the very least, and therefore the Lord cannot bring him into your life? Because we both that you are hiding in your room. Go out and make friends. The Lord will bring your partner when He has designated. But you can’t find him if you’re not out and about where he could even find you. This is Rapunzel.’

This was pre-Tangled, by the way and yeah, she was like ‘She was getting out and found him. Argument made.’

My mom is smart, y’all. I am thankful I didn’t take 80 years to figure that one out. 

Dreams are Mile Markers

As it is the month of November I’m making a running list of things I think I want to work on for 2021. I like to simmer on it for a couple of weeks and after Christmas, I’ll finalize the list for the coming year. 

Last year I made all of them trackable, SMART style goals and have spent the year getting a lot more accomplished than previous years. I like this method, because much as I may not meet all of my goals, I made progress that I can point to and be like, you know I didn’t make it but I did get shit done. 

Or I can blame a governmentally mandated shutdown that killed a few plans. Which just means that they’re back on the list for next year. Like getting my passport finally. But still I tried to do the things.

And that’s what matters this time, and every time. Because in figuring out this magical thing and how it feels to see the progress. There is not a single goal that didn’t get sort of touched this year. 

There was one that I had, but due to other things going on I’ve decided that it’s not really something that I’m ready to invest in yet. And I’m not seeing it on the agenda for 2021. 

2022, well that’s still a maybe. After this last year, I’ve learned there’s only so far we should definitely plan, and that is past the limit. 

Know Your Exits

So if you didn’t pick up on it yet, I like cars. I like driving and I really like analogies. When I was younger my hometown did a storytelling festival and my mom was a volunteer and I got to talk to some of them. And one of them said something then that I used years later when I was working in a call center for the first time.

People hear a story and if they can put themselves in it, they will remember it. And I abused that particular piece of knowledge. I’d tell stories to the older groups that just weren’t getting technology, but the minute I started comparing it to prom or a fancy dance, oh the ladies would get it. The men, about half the time. So I kept at it. 

I like to be funny. I like to pretend that I’m at least reasonably hilarious. Or funny enough to the people that are paying attention. I talk, I talk a lot and I’ve had professors regret making me sit in the front of the class. I’m irreverent and I handle respect and authority to my own credentials. They had to earn it, just like everyone else. 

I had a few who figured out that the back row kids needed me. You see, my irreverent humor was just enough to keep them paying attention, so that they would actually get something out of the class we were taking, be it the credit for their major or the experience for their resume.  And the teacher didn’t have to check to make sure they weren’t sleeping. 

I wouldn’t let friends miss my next attempt at being funny.

No, I needed a test audience.

Okay, so background out of the way, back to the car analogy.

When you make a plan, you figure out where you’re going to turn. Everywhere is a new destination, and as such this is like going to google maps and being like how do I get there and writing it out. This lets you know that you’re supposed to take exit 59 but hey, there’s an accident before 53 so do you really want to head that way or do you want to get off here and 49 and skirt around that mess. Because that’s what the electronic sign thing is telling you.

Do you do it?

Or do you wade through the accident traffic and fight your way through because there really isn’t a better way to get to that road except by taking exit 59?

Because depending on how much decision making I’ve had to do that day, I’m going to stay on the highway until I reach my exit or they make me, because I really don’t want to get lost at this time of night. Or if it’s early, sure I’ll explore, I like knowing how my streets all connect to each other.

Our lives are full of moments that are just delays and detours. But we can have an adventure as long as we look at it that way.

Then again, I am the same person who moves because the Lord tells me it’s time for another chapter. But I can’t say that happens to everyone. I know people who embrace their calling where they were born. Others where they ended up after college. You have to do what’s right for you. 

Relying on anyone else’s gut is a sure way to have bad shit follow.

Spot the Stupid Car

This is a game that I used to play when I drove for a living in Charleston. This is where you looked at the cars traveling around you and you make sure that you are not next to the ‘stupid’ car. 

The one most likely to do something illegal and cause an accident, either following too closely, or speeding, or changing lanes without signaling or making a right turn without any warning WHILE coming to a complete stop first. After they just had to squeeze in front of you when there is a perfectly good stretch of road that is completely clear behind you.

It’s wasting gas, yo, and I learned to drive when gas was up 4$ a gallon in Texas– before it got to the normal cheap again. Okay, we don’t do this stop start driving thing.

You, in your life, also need to spot the stupid car. There are going to be people that you have to deal with, you can’t really get rid of them. You can’t really get away from them, but you can mitigate as much damage to your vehicle as you can.

Pull back from being buddy buddy with these people. Trust your gut, and by all means don’t close your eyes longer than necessary. Shit happens but you can be prepared for it.

Reroute To Your Best Bet

I don’t think there is a perfect plan to account for any and every infraction that could happen and alter the course of things. But I do know that my life is a hell of a lot easier when I know what must be done, and what I want to get done. Like that I wanted to write 3334 words today because I didn’t write anything yesterday.

And for whatever reason, I am getting it done. This month has been very different from November in years past. There has been a lot of scrambling to get the writing done and then there were the excuses as to why this didn’t happen and that didn’t.

Yesterday, I really did have the intention of writing only to have to spend time researching on what a replacement computer was going to cost me. Because it wasn’t updating correctly. FInally got it to cooperate, but by then, it was time to go to work. And no, I’m not going to blow off work just to write. 

And the day before had been one of those rare ‘staby staby’ days where I’m ready to cut anyone and everyone. Usually it’s just certain people who irritate the living daylights out of me.

And like the stupid cars they are, I do my damnedest to avoid their drama and shit shows. And I wasn’t working today, so I figured that one day of double was a good show. It would make me feel accomplished (I really like seeing that tracker go up) to catch back up, but in all honesty I just needed a heavy writing day to be on track for the month.

Another first. Being truly ahead of the schedule. Not fudging the numbers so that I feel a little better about it all. Also, I’m probably going to get an email from spotify because I’ve listened to the same song on repeat for the last six days. 

Eh, I’m fine. It’s just a good writing song. 

As always, may you find a little more joy in the world, even if it is only my sassy little self,

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