There’s a down side? Really?
If you are a planner, you are probably staring daggers at your screen right now. “What kind of incompetent person would suggest that planning is less than the epitome of being responsible?”
Planning means you are organized, efficient, always prepared for the next step. Late assignments and missed appointments are never an option.
That’s a good trait to have! Teachers and professors love you, employers trust you, and as a bonus, you probably pull off fantastic parties and enjoy amazing vacations!
But… have you noticed that you can’t plan favorite memories and genuine joy? The elements that put the glitter and shine on life cannot be organized, scheduled, or manipulated!
For all your hard work, the truly treasured memories and defining moments end up being the unplanned ones! The impromptu detour to an overlook that filled you with awe. The unexpected conversation that broadened your perspective or suddenly gave you a deeper understanding of another human being. The child-like excitement of discovering a pack of Oreo’s in a care package or a forgotten $20 in a jacket pocket. (Yes, Oreo’s are unhealthy… moving on.) The heart-wrenching disappointment that pushed you to cling to God like never before, which then brought greater peace than you could imagine. The movie night that dissolved into uncontrollable laughter and a pop-corn fight. The disagreement that ended in an embrace. The time you couldn’t sleep and went for a 4 AM run that left you more energized and inspired than you had felt in weeks. Go ahead and plan all you like, but you can’t make those moments happen.
As life races by it is easy to rely on careful scheming and arranging to reach our goals: dual enrollment, a great college, a perfect GPA, a brilliant career… the danger is that the truly life-impacting moments are missed when a checklist and an itinerary become the focus.
What about helping others? What about spiritual growth? What about learning empathy and grace? What about love – for your spouse, or your kids, or your parents? What about self-care? What about sacrifice?
By all means, work hard. Arrange things ahead of time. Meet deadlines. But do not dismiss the people and opportunities that present themselves as you go! Learn the art of being present: know when to fold up your plans and store them in your back pocket for later. Life is about more than reaching goals and being “the best”. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Life is meant to be lived!”
Make plans but keep an eraser handy. You will be surprised by the wisdom and fun to be found along the way!