Checking it twice

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” (John Lennon).

I am a lover of the list. The to-do list, the shopping list, the what I want to knit list, the Christmas card address list…. I surround myself with, and take comfort from, lists. I can, and do, function without them, but my head is full of big things and small things get left by the wayside if they don’t get written down.

One thing I don’t write down, or spend a lot time contemplating, is any sort of “five year plan.” The idea is preposterous to me. Can anyone really plan that far out? The only truly predictable thing about life is its sheer lack of predictability and its tendency towards chaos. Where do I want to be in five years? Happy. I think that is enough of an answer for me.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).

My plan for today was elastic, yet structured. There are things I want to accomplish on my Monday off. There are errands: I need to pick up several small but lovely and gift-wrappable items, I’d like to bless the local vegetable stand with my largesse, and some gift certificates need to be purchased. There is housework: the bathrooms both need a little love, the broom is lonely, the cobwebs are starting to look like modern art. And always, there is exercise.

Moving was really the only structure I was hoping to have today, and I had it planned by the clock. Get up at 4, like I have to the rest of the week. Do the 4 mile workout video. Shower, dress in some sort of cute bike riding appropriate clothing. Ride to the orthodontist. Ride home. Take the grandbaby to the zoo later and walk around the whole thing, plus go to the park and swing. A day of movement, with occasional other stuff thrown in.

I had a good, reasonable, do-able plan and it felt wonderful.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” (Woody Allen).

I’m sure you can guess where this is going. I am not a master of mystery at all, am I?

I woke up to the sound of Wayne brushing his teeth, which meant it was no earlier than 6:15. I laid in bed for a minute, maybe two, trying to make my sleep-addled brain adjust to this changed schedule. And then I remembered that I had to get the bike lock off of his bike before he left so I jumped up and got dressed in the clothes that were laid out for my workout. You may be certain they are not “cute.”

There was a flurry of activity, a cliche that really does suit, and then he was gone, pedaling towards work and I had not enough time for a workout and the nearly overwhelming urge to write. Anything. Something. Everything.

I braided my hair first because I know me. I know I can be expected to not lift my fingers from the keys until I have only five seconds to leave or I will be late. Sometimes I don’t even save myself the five seconds. I made a smoothie and added peanut butter because the extra calories will be good on a ride. I brewed a little coffee and fixed myself a cup (black, with ice). And I sat down before my laptop and realized I had no plan at all about what to write.

And now? It is a minute later than the time I should have been walking out of the door.

See why I need lists?


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