Long term personal and professional planning has never been my strong suit.  I have used various tools over the years to improve my planning skills, but none of them have really stuck.  Because I married a great guy and have a good education, I have probably been more able to ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ with my less than stellar planning skills than those who don’t have the same privileges that I enjoy.

This brings me to a recent blog by our beloved Jeni of fame.  She did a recent post: The Privilege of a Plan.  

She is a self-described planner of the first order.  As her yoga student and a person who plans on enjoying one of her European yoga retreats in September 2023, I am more than grateful for her planning skills!

She and her husband are currently living in Spain and have global yoga retreats planned through October 2023.    In this post (that is absolutely worth checking out as are her other posts), she describes how different the planning culture is in Spain.  She talked with a local friend who said that planning 2 years ahead is a privilege.  According to her friend, ‘Mediterranean economies are less certain and that spills over into cultural and social life’.  So, most people living there just don’t plan that far ahead.

This post was thought provoking on a couple of different levels.  It made me think about friends or family who grew up or now live in uncertain/chaotic/insecure community or family environments.  Those experiences might have short changed them in the long term planning department. The lack of ability to make and execute a plan can be frustrating to their managers, family members, and friends.  But, thanks to the wisdom in Jeni’s post, I now have a lot more empathy for them.

I also thought about the feeling of uncertainty I felt when I was going through my cancer treatment 6 years ago.  I lost my capacity for any long-term planning.  The very thought of the future was terrifying so I pretty much lived in the moment.  I recently had a minor health scare and briefly had that same feeling of insecurity.  My husband wanted to plan a trip to the ocean later in the month for razor clamming.  At that moment, I couldn’t even think that far ahead.  Fortunately, my scare was nothing and my husband doesn’t want to go clamming anyway (😊).

I think the uncertainty of the pandemic has taken a toll on our long range planning skills capacity. We have postponed/rescheduled/postponed a big trip several times and I know others have done the same. Big trips, especially independent travel to Europe, require some big-time planning.   It is hard to spin on a dime in those circumstances, at least for us. 

But we are privileged to have the ability to plan for Europe in 2022 and Europe again (with Jeni) in 2023!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu



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