“It’s too intimidating,” Lincoln said. “The future.”
“So you’re done with the future?”
“I’m tightening my focus. I can handle the near future. Tonight, for example, I’m going to read for pleasure. Tomorrow I’m going to have a beer with lunch. On Saturday I’m going to play D&D. And Sunday, I might go see a movie. That’s my plan.”
“That isn’t a plan,” Eve said.
“It is. It’s my plan. And I feel really good about it.”
“Those aren’t things you plan. You don’t plan to read or to have a beer with lunch. Those are things you do when you have a moment between planned events. Those are incidentals.”
Not for me, that’s my plan.”
– Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
When I read this, I had to pause a moment. I always felt I had to think about the Big Picture and making plans for it, feeling stressed because I don’t have a strategy or even a direction. People asking about my job, where I’m going to live, if I am in a relationship. Their making me feel like a failure because I don’t have a life-long career, leave my belongings at my parents’ house while I travel rather than having my own home, and never even having been in love instead of being married with children.
I’m a bit like Lincoln. Interested in various things, taking various university courses, going to this city and that, working anywhere because you have to rather than somewhere you want to… And no idea whatsoever what I want to do with the rest of my life despite the fact I’m thirty and everyone thinks I should be living the whole “white picket fence” scenario. Do I want a career, a husband, and maybe kids? Sure. Someday. But the school, career, meet-date-marriage path isn’t the one I was on; I was en route the school, travel, who-the-heck-knows-what’ll-happen-when path. Despite reaching MY #lifegoal (moving to Ireland *yAy!*) I felt unfulfilled and floundering because it wasn’t what everyone told me I should want. And then came Lincoln…
He was floundering, but only because everyone kept pushing him to DO before he even knew what he wanted. He paused, took time to think about what he needed to be happy, and then when it came his way he grabbed it. Everything from getting a haircut and buying a coat he admired to getting an apartment and finding a job, he didn’t worry. He just waited until the time was right for him.
I didn’t realize that perhaps the little things I do are also a plan. That staying in to read a book instead of going shopping with friends, writing a book instead of going to a party, taking going-no-where jobs in order to have travel money rather than focusing on a career, waiting for Mr Perfect instead dating a bunch of Mr Right Nows, all of it –big or small– is okay. I can plan as much or as little as I want, because every decision, every choice, is me making a move toward what I want for my life. It doesn’t have to be monumental, making a plan needn’t have be-all-end-all proportions, whatever I do just has to be what I want for me.
Later Eve says: “What if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”