I’ve been thinking about plans. Isn’t that what people do at the beginning of the year?
We make resolutions, set goals, organize budgets, insist upon striving. We’re always making plans. Even while finishing something, we’re mentally on to the next thing. If there is such a thing as in-between time, it is discarded as unimportant, or at least, as vacation.
I’m not much of a long-term planner, so when I answer those New Year’s questions, it usually sounds like,
“I’m going to stick to a budget… or something.”
One of those crazies I traveled the world with had her goals when she returned from leading our squad in Cambodia: “I was to come home and devise a plan where I would put an all time end to child trafficking… or something. As it turns out, the next season of my life was the “or something” season.”
And, what do you know, that is the season I have been in, too.
The season of “…or something” looks a lot like post-Christmas winter. It’s life’s February. It’s cold and quiet and all of the happy decorations of your exciting past endeavors have been put away, all surprises unwrapped. It’s not necessarily sad, but not a lot is going on.
It’s true: aside from a few DIY wedding projects, keeping the bookshop in order, and meeting with friends, not a lot is going on. There is less structure in my life now than there has ever been.
But it’s not boring. Things are happening, they’re just under the surface right now. Marriage is about to be the longest-term commitment I will ever make, and I’m surrounded by amazing friends who are really helping me prepare for it.
And if anything drops you into the season of “…or something” more than Christmas, it’s Christmas during engagement. Kyle’s house is slowly filling with things that we won’t use until I move in.
And like those gifts, still in the box, I’m storing up things to use soon, when life figuratively (and literally) reaches Spring. I’m perusing apartment listings near Georgetown, checking course listings in my program, reading books on marriage, and (still) turning over in my mind the Christmas of experiences that was college and traveling.
It’s hard to not feel like I’m letting those all of this useful stuff gather dust. It’s hard not to project judgement on myself, imagining that every super-productive over-achiever in my Facebook news feed somehow knows that I’m, at first glance, not doing much. I admire everyone who can go from school directly to more school, straight to a great job, to the next great job. There is no “…or something” for them, only definitiveness.
But “…or something” is for rest. It is for contemplation. It is for catching your breath and putting yourself back together after learning things that are really, really big. It is for the aftermath of incredible, for taking the time to answer, “What do I do with all of this?”
I have been given so much, and that question has taken all this time to answer. I’m grateful for it (now).
But after all of the cold and cloud and quiet and this week’s sinus infection (not a literary symbol for anything, I’m just sick), I’m full of hope for the new life that is coming.
This year I am
moving to a new, beautiful, bike-friendly city!
starting grad school!
already sticking to a budget!
Look at that: definitive, long-term plans from a non-planner. There is hope for us all.