Saturday, April 30, 2011

“The Best Laid Plans”

            I plan. As long as I can remember, I’ve set specific goals that I aim to attain. In my youth, I designed a year plan, a five year plan, and a nebulous “someday” list of possibilities. For years, I’d jot these objectives on the last page of my journals, sometimes including deadline dates. Many of these targets focused on simple things like to pay off a credit card in six months, plant bushes for Mother’s Day, buy a new chair for the living room, or replace the fence. I love that one since it’s been on my lists for the last five years!
            Then the years came where the lists shifted more to living goals: Harmony-not perfection, Count the good days, Listen carefully, Let it go. I imagine this shift came because I never crossed some items off the lists, never reached the goals. Or maybe I came to realize that some of those items never go away. There’s always something to buy or repair around a home. I like to think that my aspirations shifted into making myself a better person.
            During the last couple of years, the lists stopped altogether. I don’t want to remind myself that my washer and dryer approach year twenty-five and should be replaced. Also, I don’t want to shift into the future too far. Many days, I slip into survival mode where making it through the next twenty-four hours with grace and understanding seems enough of a focus for me. Those of you with elderly parents needing care understand this protective move. Planning ahead brings the possibility of too much loss and heartbreak. Instead, I’ve set aside my lists of goals because I know that within the next year, or even as little as six months, every plan could go awry.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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