I’m a planner and someone who flies by the seat of her pants. The latter is necessitated by the former often — and spectacularly — falling through.
It’s become a kind of joke in my family, and my life has been this way since I could control major changes in it. The first time it happened was when I was choosing where to go to college, then it was figuring out my first job.
My best friend, who’s known me for nearly 20 years, is a planner, too, but she and I are wildly different. Her plans tend to come to fruition; she’s quietly determined, and a force of nature who gets things done. Apparently I’m the butterfly that flaps its wings and causes a typhoon on the other side of the planet. Mel has seen me make plans, fight for those plans, then watch them wildly derail, often resulting in major life changes and new paths. It doesn’t surprise either of us anymore, and she’s one of the first to laugh when I start telling her about my latest typhoon.
If it weren’t for my parents, my sister, and Mel, I’d probably think my constantly changing plans were a sign of failure. A sign I don’t know what I’m doing. A sign I’m rudderless, or confused, or don’t know what to do with my life.
(I don’t, but I believe few people actually do. Except maybe for Mel, who’s currently executing her most recent big plan.)
Some of my plans I don’t want to change. The fact that I haven’t made them happen is because of bad habits and poor planning. I want to be on social media less, so I finally deleted Facebook off my phone. I want to write more, be creative more, read more. I want to explore more. Try more. Love more.
More more more, and a lot of less, too.
To unbury the lede: a month ago I was planning on giving rental life in San Diego another year, then figuring out what’s next. My finances are struggling here, but I have an amazing community and so many opportunities to be a better version of myself. So I had a year to figure out what to do about it.
And then I didn’t. My roommate, Jenn, and I talked, and decided that instead of renewing our lease in August, we were moving. We looked at two-bedroom places, but they were either meant for ants or so far out of my price range it wasn’t possible. We considered splitting up, and even then, my options were few. My anxiety started swirling. On a whim, in a text to my mom and sister, I floated the idea of throwing my stuff in storage and crashing in spare bedrooms to save money on rent. They were both immediately on board. My dad also thought it was a good idea. I did an Instagram Story about it, just to sort out my feelings more, and a friend almost immediately texted me about staying long-term in her guest bedroom a little farther south of where I live now.
That night, Jenn told me about a place she’d found. A one-bedroom, just for her. She looked worried. “Are you sure it’s okay for me to check it out? I don’t want to strand you.”
She wasn’t. In my eyes, she was proving that my harebrained plan to live out of suitcases was actually what I needed to do.
Over the next few days, everything started coming together as it always does when my plans change. There’s a short incubation period, and then the new plan erupts from the cocoon, taking flight and moving faster than the caterpillar it was before.
My stuff’s going into storage. I’ll crash here and there in spare bedrooms, visiting friends and family, and using the money I’m saving not paying rent to pay down my debt ferociously and mercilessly. I’ll travel internationally as much as I can without adding to my debt. My car will be paid off in November. One credit card (out of three) will be paid off next month. The second should be paid off by the end of the year. In six months, my credit card debt should be halved.
That’s the plan, anyway.
A few months ago, while sitting in a coffee shop, I wrote a post about my plans to write a post. It was going to be about learning to flirt, basically. Learning how to maintain eye contact with men. I was planning on writing it along with so many more posts; I even started several drafts with different ideas.
I don’t want to write it anymore. It seems stupid and just… uninteresting. I’d gotten back into online dating as a last-ditch effort to do some “research” before writing it, and that’s left me even more apathetic about it. I’m tempted to go so far as to delete the cheerleader post I wrote before that trumpeted my return to blogging and the forthcoming “let’s learn how to flirt!” post.
I do plan on writing more, and I need to make that happen. But that post is not happening.
The best thing that could happen to this blog is a return to its roots, I think. I started it to chronicle my adventures in Taiwan and I wroke weekly stories about my life there (like taking out the trash), micro-adventures (like finding jeans), and the big stuff (like my last-minute trip to Beijing with friends). I wanted to keep my family and friends Stateside in the loop; I was literally on the other side of the planet, but life continued, as it does, and I wanted them to be on the adventure with me.
My adventures are a little different now than they were in Taiwan. They’re about to change again. Hopefully I’ll feel the same drive to write about them as I did when I lived abroad. That would help me stop failing at one of my plans, at least.