Planning my week is less about making a schedule and more about deciding what I’ll be thinking about for the next few days.
When I first plan my week, I don’t know how I feel about my plans yet. After all, I just made them. I haven’t had the required two-or-three nights of rumination to form an opinion. These nightly ruminations tend toward either worry or fantasy, which makes up the two sides of anticipation.
Anticipation is the bulk of any event, by the way. This is why weddings take so long to plan even though the party is always the same. Two lovebirds float over the answered question of what color the dress should be for months. If too much dread doesn’t creep into either of their souls, then the wedding is on. At that point, why not abandon the plan and let the city clerk marry you? Save money. The party’s over.
It’s ok. Most plans end before they begin. Mine sit scribbled on the calendar or pop-up in my notifications all week, and all week I look them square in the letters and say ‘no’. They are anti-plans. They exist to not happen. And they are indispensable: each ‘no’ is an exercise in liberty. Of all the ways to rebel against the relentless ordering of humanity, dropping a plan is the safest. A flake and a free-spirit are nearly indistinguishable, the only difference is pride.
So when I plan, I fantasize. Why not? I imagine the party always to be bigger, livelier, than it ever could be. I hear myself nailing every joke and laughing handsomely only at the most appropriate times. There, in one corner, a new friend, and through the door, who could it be but The Love Of My Life? And look, Leonardo DiCaprio is drinking with all of us.
The trouble with these plans is they don’t survive past planning. Reality breaks everything made of dreams. Illusions long gone, I am now out somewhere, in the wild. I must observe my surroundings, and orient myself. A decision must be made, and then action. Inevitably, I teeter between observe and orient, gathering data on the situation on loop. All details become salient as I put off deciding, therefore nothing stands out. A rational action becomes impossible.
Only here, after clearing my mind of all that forethought by drowning it in forethought, the worries and the fantasies, I open my eyes and realize the plan has taken me, rather than me having pursued it. I relax in my seat and become sociable. Sometimes I even enjoy myself. It’s all a part of the plan.