Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Unplanned Gift

It's a well-documented (by me) fact that I wait too long to eat. I am easily distracted and then I forget and then I am starving and have no ability to make decisions. Instead of choosing to put foods together as a real dinner, I take down a bag of carrots, a canister of almonds and a block of cheese while standing in the kitchen because I have gotten myself to the point of needing to immediately ingest something besides gum.

Apparently this pattern holds true for my writing as of late as well. I have so much to say, so much has happened since I was last here, I have no ability to make decisions about how to start. Instead of choosing to put words together as a real story, I am sitting in front of the computer about to shove out a random assortment of glimpses at my life because I have gotten to the point of needing to write. Immediately.

Maybe I should plan more. Maybe this would allow me to eat cooked foods and craft more complete essays. But as part of my easily-distracted personality, I also just read my friend J's blog.

She wants to stop planning. Is this "we want what we can't have," or "we want what we can't be," or "we don't appreciate what/who we are?" Maybe it's all three. Because as I sit here frustrated with myself for not having any foresight whatsoever, J is halfway across the country, berating herself for compiling too many to-do lists.

By her account, chucking her "Type-A" personality was the only way she could have gone on her world-tour vacation, the only way she might be able to leave the job she doesn't want, the only way to have a fuller life. By my account, this ability to plan gave her the foundation to save enough money to take that trip, to write a list of all the destinations she hoped to visit, to provide her the perspective to judge whether of not she likes the job she has.

As a non-planner, I don't wrestle with quite the same issues J does. I don't wonder whether I could have a better job. I love what I do because I do things that make me happy. And when they don't make me happy anymore I do something else. I don't plan it out. I do, however, run into other issues that true Type As don't deal with on a daily basis. Things like deciding to teach yoga before figuring out if I can make a living wage doing so. Or deciding to move out of Chicago before deciding which state to move into.

Diving into things headfirst without planning sometimes makes me feel like a giant disaster. A financial fuck-up. A messy, storm cloud of momentum without a strong center focus. A child-person of sorts and less of an adult.

But then I read J's blog and it reminded me: I'm no more a giant disaster than J is held back by her post-its and to-do lists. We do things to help us function in a way that makes sense to our true being. For her, that's planning. For me, that's letting myself be pulled in any direction.

In the spirit of who we are, I might send her a pad of paper title "To-Don't List." But I haven't decided yet. Let me finish shoving these almonds down my throat first.


  1. Kate, we are our own worst critics, aren't we? Sounds like you're doing fine. Give yourself a big hug for being you!


  2. I wish I could plan less!
    And your yoga class sounds fabulous! Not because you're using my lines! ha. But, because yogis are supposed to live in the moment! I want to take it. Where is it?

  3. Ben -- We ARE our worst critics. We should stop that and start more hugs!
    Laurenne -- Everyone says that about planning. Which is more than a little telling about our culture...Also I can't promise I won't steal more lines for my classes since your blog is awesome. Yoga is my favorite thing in life for that very, live-in-the-present-moment, reason. I teach at 4 studios in Chicago now, but am looking to move cities in Oct. Open to suggestions!

  4. I LOVE yoga. AND... I'm gonna be in Chicago March 26 - April 1. Soooo... perhaps I will take your class and you can use my lines and then I will stand up and say 'Hey! That's my line' really loudly. So, yeah, let me know your schedule.

    I suggest you move to.... Madrid!

  5. There are SO many things about this that make me happy!!! I teach mostly at CorePower Yoga, at three different studios. I can email you my schedule, you can see the full schedule online (I'm listed as KateSt) OR you can follow me on Twitter where I post my daily classes (@kstonetraining) Also my birthday is the 28th, so you shouting in the middle of my class would be like the greatest present ever!