The Gifted Underachiever

My life so far

Plan M

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detourI was just listening to one of my favorite podcasts, This American Life, and the episode was called Plan B. A question the host posed was how many people are still living their life according to Plan A. Plan A is the plan we formulated for our life when we were younger and encouraged to make plans. In a room of 100 people only one admitted they were still on Plan A, and the person was 23 years old.

I switched to Plan B around 21-years-old, after the seminary gave me the ultimatum of celibacy or a lifetime of fraternization with the opposite sex. From a purely emperical point of view I believe I chose wisely. Yet, I still wonder how Plan A would have unfolded.

At this point in my life with two score and three-quarters under my belt I figure I’m somewhere in the middle of the alphabet. And this doesn’t even count all the subplans that attempt to support or shore up the main plan.

Plan B didn’t last long. It rarely does. Plan B is usually an interim while one gets on ones feet after seeing Plan A go down in flames. I never expected¬† framemaking to be a vocation. Heck, Plan C was stopgap, too. I thoroughly enjoyed Plan E, but I knew working for the circus was only good for grandchildren stories and not a life choice, at least not for me.

Switching plans is usually earth-shattering. It means saying goodbye and introducing yourself, finalizing and beginning, relegating good and bad experiences to memories. And while the next plan may not be permanent, it is certainly enhanced by the experience one brings to it.

I know only one person who’s still on Plan A: my daughter Brandi, now a resident at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. She’s always wanted to be a doctor, and now she is one. But if you ask her I’ll bet that Plan A has seen many permutations, and she’s probably on Plan A.11.2, or something close.

Having a plan is great. It sets a course, and gives you a heading. But storms can alter that course, and a wise captain knows when to steer around them or tack a new course. I’ll admit that my sailing skills aren’t that great, and I tend to sail right through the gale. As I tell my wife, “I’ll take you safely over all the bumps in life – and I’ll probably not miss a one.”

perfect_storm_2It seems like such a gale force wind right now, and I’ve got a hand on the rudder holding steady until the right momemnt. Going through some pretty big storms gives you some idea of which ones you should avoid. I don’t know if you have to sail through them to figure out which are which, but there’s nothing that beats hands-on experience, especially when you need to figure out when you don’t want to put your hands on something any more. One touch of the stove is enough to convince me it really is hot.

The thing about switching plans, though, is that while it’s not necessarily easier to do as life goes on you don’t fear it that much. You almost come to expect it.

I know Plan N is right around the corner. I’m ready.

Categories: What was I thinking?

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