“I’m going to buy a planner” is a work by J. R. Nichols. Click here to read a random post!
Of course the moment I typed these words, my mind attempted to sing them to the tune of, “I’m going to hire a wino*.”
It is January, and is thus time for all the good little boys and girls to carefully document and outline their goals for the new year. To make things extra-special-fun, it is also the beginning of a new decade.
Is there anything more full of promise?
Picture the moment you discovered your last planner:
As you stood in the Barnes and Noble, juggling your Venti Mocha-chocha-buttercrunch with two extra shots, flipping through the pages of “Mrs. Sassy’s planner for cat lovers,” you stared in gape-mouthed awe at the moments spread out before you, like the first glimpse of the first real snow of winter, as yet un-trampled by Father Time’s ungainly footsteps.
Yet here he comes
Less than a week in to things, when your planner still has nary a crack in the spine, while every page is still securely attached to its pre-perforated self – Father Time comes a-sneakin’ up from the depths of the decade you’ve left behind, dragging along not just death – who seems a distasteful yet apparently necessary companion – but also piles of laundry and stacks of bills and long lines at the gas station and an inconceivable amount of trifling inconveniences and pettiness-es, all poised to distract you from what is really important as you make this journey through a decade of promise.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Look, I’m not one to disappoint a gal. So, take it away with the planners. It’s your time, Boo – it’s yet another holiday, and one that is well-kept indeed by those of you with organized desks and piles of pretty craft items to beautify your life in advance.
Go on, you rascal! Color in your days! Turn all of your Wednesdays orange because orange is your least favorite color and on Wednesdays you meet with your personal trainer! Color Sunday’s your favorite color, if you’d like! And Easter and Christmas, too, while you’re at it.
Planner calendars consist of little squares of potential, just begging for your printed promises.
Alas, those of us cut from my particular bolt of fabric see your delight in these festivities and merely give the side-eye to our pile of abandoned planners from decades past, and with our new 2020 vision, we observe nothing but a heaping pile of condemnation.
This is not a complaint. It is not a problem for which I seek a remedy. It is merely a statement of fact.
I state it to help you understand why a gal like me can’t celebrate planner season with you all.
What gals like me need is a whole lot less of that sprinkle-dust called “expectations.”
I know, I know. I could preach a five point sermon on the benefits of goal setting and proper planning. Could give you a list of reasons long as the day is why mapping out your career journey is “a wise plan of action.” I can make a case as airtight as any attorney would like about why I should have a planner.
And maybe that’s right. Maybe, I should have a planner.
But maybe I should re-think its purpose.
Imagine, A planner that doesn’t expect quite so much from you.
What I need is a planner that says, “You’re right, life is full of promise and potential, but things don’t always work out the way you thought they would, and that’s okay,” as opposed to a chronicle of all the times I failed to meet my own expectations.
Maybe I do need to get myself a planner. Maybe I can color each of my Wednesdays red, and arbitrarily remember the shed blood of Jesus Christ when I dust off my forgotten planner in July to see what the day has in store for me. Maybe I can open it up to a random page, and make myself some edifying artwork.
And then do it again. And again.
I can send messages to my future self from this day of ultimate optimism.
Maybe since the year is fresh, and so is my mindset, this is the time to prepare against the buffeting of the sin in this world. Maybe now is the time to scatter seeds of remembrance throughout the year. Reminders of who Christ is, and who I am in Christ, and that every second, every moment, can be the beginning of something new. Maybe I can see the potential of each and every moment.
Well, maybe not this first year.
“But wait, wait, wait,” cry the voices of the detractors.
Traditional goal-setting has built-in rewards! You are missing out! Aren’t you giving up the opportunity to clap yourself on the back for keeping a promise to yourself?
Yes. Yes I am. But I find personally I take a lot of pride in that. And it isn’t a good kind of pride**.
Couldn’t you achieve a lot more for the Lord if you were more organized?
Yes. Guilty, as charged.
I mean, I’d say “definitely,” but not “positively.”
Maybe it’s sinful to say “oh well,” and not particularly strive to be more effective in the work I do for the Lord. But I’m feeling more like being a Mary than a Martha here, choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus and moon over his absolute wonderfulness than to work super-hard to please him. And as a child of The Most High King, don’t I get a free pass to do that, just whenever?
At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Look, a very valid case could be made that the “correct” course of action would be for me to “whip myself into shape,” or “get my act together,” or even “make a commitment to my career and my future,” by mapping out my career goals, putting dates in a planner, using the planner, you know, in the way it was intended.
Why won’t I just buckle down and improve my life?
But I’ve tried that. over and again. Remember that side-eyed pile of planners?***
I’ve never really not-tried. I’ve never really surrendered to the idea that I am sort of chaotic and random. I have good intentions. I show up when I remember. What happens if I simply embrace that?
I’m going to try that this year. Try less, trust more.
Let’s see how that works.****
*kind of inappropriate in hindsight. Sorry, honey.
**Is there a good kind of pride? This is a discussion hubby and I have been having.
***I feel I must confess that no such pile exists. I’ve never purchased an actual “planner.” All my attempts to organize my life are of the digital variety. However I do have many an abandoned journal hanging around to haunt me. Same difference.
****I feel like I’m going to be worse at this than I am at keeping up with a planner.