According to Prophesy…er…Plan

Meanwhile, back in London…

I started on the fortune cookies again; I couldn’t help myself.  I’m a seeker; a romantic, but I also want answers packaged in neat boxes.  Or tasty little envelopes, as the case may be. Like some kind of pilgrim or fool, I slouch towards the cookie jar.  During the weeks I am not here, the cookies are saved for me.  When I am here, we order extras.

Whoever writes the fortunes for the cookies at our preferred Chinese restaurant is some kind of vicious seer; a peculiar prophet.  Everyone else winds up with perfectly normal fortunes, and mine are like something out of a strange film.

I broke open my first cookie and found:

What to make of this?

Do I have a plan?  What’s my plan?  Did I ever have a plan?  The answer to the “did I ever?” question is…yes, I did, once upon a time.  That Plan was implemented and executed through 2005.  It was a plan of the ordinary sort: college, law school, law firm, marriage, etc.  But as my best friend always said, I was more focused on the ends than the means.

But is there now a plan?  A goal to achieve?

I sent the fortune to a friend who was also on travel; someone who was in a time-zone that would have him as awake as I was.

Do you have an ideal plan? he asked, I’m still searching for one.

Same.  But whatever I come up with, I’m apparently supposed to reconsider it.

There we were, two outwardly successful people, momentarily evaluating our lives based on a message in a fortune cookie.  Hmmm.

Maybe the planning question is one some people never have to answer.  Maybe some make the plan I made, and they stick to it, and they live moderately happily ever after.  But I was Eve with the apple — the sweetest apple I ever tasted.  Is there a plan for life outside the Garden?  I’m not sure.

We went back and forth for a few moments about potential schemes, until I settled on one:

So, I finally said, Stop taking advice from fortune cookies, i.e., reconsider ideal plan.

The week in London went by quickly after that — meetings, calls, lunches, working late into the night on the New York day.  Then, today, it occurred to me that I had begun my blogging project seven years ago this month; sometime around Columbus Day 2004.  So I went back and I checked for the exact date.  What I found was this:

[10/10/2004]

Sometimes I wonder…

Today we are at Andrew’s parents house, and we drove a long way to Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island.  This was notable both because of the long drive, and because the last time I was there was the day before Thanksgiving last year, with Beth Ann.  Today Beth ran the Chicago marathon.  Today, I bought new lipstick.

I wish I had run a marathon today.  I used to be ready to run a marathon, but I went and tore the cartilage in my knee.  Then I tore it again, and finally, I tore my MCL and the cartilage and the scar tissue.  That was a year ago, Halloween.  The same weekend Beth decided to run the marathon.

I am having an angst filled day because, for the first time in my life, I don’t know what I want “next.”  I always knew after high school, I’d go to college.  And after college, I’d go to law school.  And I thought after law school, I’d get married and become a lawyer.  I’m getting married, of course, but will I really be happy as a lawyer? 

What next, I wonder?

I got my engagement ring cleaned yesterday.  It made me feel productive.  Anyway, the diamond sparkles like crazy.  And that makes me happy.

Maybe I should call my mother.  At times like this she is usually chock-full of good advice and details about all the people who have it worse than me.

And there it was: me, seven years ago, on the cusp of The Plan’s inevitable end; the yawning expanse of Planlessness head of me.

I’ve married and divorced in these intervening seven years.  I’ve run eight marathons — including the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday, the very race referenced in my first post.  I’ve left Washington; I’ve moved to Manhattan.  I’ve given up wearing the shiny diamond (I still can’t seem to part with it, though I swore I would).

So: Do you have an ideal plan?

I had only The Plan that ended; the one that I reconsidered, over and over; the usual plan.  But this summer was one of coming to terms with not being cut out for that plan; of living with Oldest Child Guilt for having needs that were maybe nothing like ordinary needs, or that were acutely like ordinary needs but that I needed to have met in a way that some did not.

So I suppose the plan is not to NOT have a plan, but to again reconsider the end of the Ideal Plan, and to continue leap-frogging through these planned and unplanned standstill moments; these moments of beginning again.

4 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. I used to have a long list of goals. Then one day when I was 31, I looked at my list and realized that I had achieved them all. That was disconcerting and I drifted for a number of years after that without major goals to work for. I fell into an MBA program because I was bored.

    About the time I reached 40, I realized that the goals that I had set for myself earlier in my life were all young person goals. They were checklist items that lacked depth and spiritual meaning. The priest in our parish once said that the relationship that we have with God has to change as we mature. I guess I can say the same for my expectations of myself and my goals. They have to change and evolve.

  2. The one thought that springs to mind: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” You can have a plan, but don’t forget to live in the moment. It helps the plans make sense.

  3. It may be that you are running to escape the old plan, possibly because you may feel you were betrayed by trusting orignal plan…thing of it is…life sort of plans itself if you allow yourself to take advantage of opportunities that are of interest along the way and not ruling anything in or out because of ‘a plan’…leaves you open . Regarding your shiny diamond ….this represents a part of your life–all the parts are important in making us who we are…… consider re-designing it -perhaps as a pendant–then, just as you have reinvented and redesigned youself after the original ‘plan’ caved… it could represent a new shiny part of you.

  4. It may be that you are running to escape the old plan, possibly because you may feel you were betrayed by trusting orignal plan…thing of it is…life sort of plans itself if you allow yourself to take advantage of opportunities that are of interest along the way and not ruling anything in or out because of ‘a plan’…leaves you open . Regarding your shiny diamond ….this represents a part of your life–all the parts are important in making us who we are…… consider re-designing it -perhaps as a pendant–then, just as you have reinvented and redesigned youself after the original ‘plan’ caved… it could represent a new shiny part of you.
    +1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s