Present Tense

Gotta have a plan

I’m a planner. Not just a Plan A and Plan B, type of person. Oh, no. I must have Plans A-F, usually formulated in the dark of night, as I lay in bed, staving off sleep, with my in-depth analysis of ‘what if’.  You would think that since I’ve engineered every possible outcome in my mind, I’d be ready for any surprise; you would be wrong. I don’t like surprises because I don’t like giving up my version of control.

At some point in my life, I came to believe that if you plan ahead, you can control everything, despite constant evidence to the contrary. For instance, anyone who’s ever begun a home improvement project, or better yet, built a home, can tell you that no matter how much you plot and plan and prepare, something (or someone) is sure to: a) not fit right  b) need one more part c) not show up d) cost a lot more e) look butt ugly, etc. I’d love to say that the construction of our home a few years ago, taught me the valuable lesson of going with the flow, but it didn’t and I don’t.

It’s something I’m working on, though. The ability to let life come to you, as it always will. Deepak Chopra, in his book “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success” lists Rule #4 as “the law of least resistance” which comes down to you might as well relax and accept what happens. He boils it down to “do less, accomplish more”, which to a control freak like me, is gibberish. You must bend the world and those in it, TO…..YOUR…….WILL!!!!! If you keep at it long enough, you start to believe that it works, the whole controlling the universe thing.

But, then one day, either by plan (thank you Deepak) or just plain old weariness, you go with the flow; you let go and watch as the world keeps moving at its own pace, without any help, encouragement or orders from you. Hmmmm. So, you think maybe this whole control thing isn’t really working the way I thought it was. Maybe, just maybe, I should let the stream take me where it wants me to go, instead of dog paddling to stay afloat. And you do….for awhile, until something irks you or somebody does something the wrong way or you see the train going off the tracks and it’s right back to bending and shaping and laying awake at night, formulating Plan A-F again.

Here’s my advice: (to me, mostly) practice letting go everyday. Promise to do it once a day at first. Here’s one that I did, today. My husband, let’s call him Prince Charming, had taken a colander of thawing shrimp out of the sink and set it on the counter, where the shrimp juice was leaking all over. My first knee-jerk reaction, was to bark at him to either put that back in the sink or put a plate under it, thus exerting my control and being a bitch all at the same time. Instead, I simply walked over to the cupboard, grabbed a plate and stuck it under the oozing shrimp and smiled at him, as he was making one of his wonderful pies. Yes, yes you can applaud now; unless you’re one of those people who just do stuff like that, without even thinking. And if you are, please let go of the fact, that I am not. There, your assignment is done for today.

December 24, 2009 - Posted by | Musings


  1. To let go of some things is great advice. I know for me the realization of what’s important came when my husband of 23 years left me and I had to let go. Since then the little things that used to annoy the crap out of me, seem just that…little. I can let stuff go, so much easier. Since then I have really been so much happier, in the knowing that all my well made plans, just may not work out the way I thought, but it’s okay. I’ve mellowed out quite a bit and I feel much happier.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and giving great advice!

    Comment by Kris | December 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Mellow is a very good thing; I aspire to it:)
    thanks for checking out the blog!!

    Comment by janelondon | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. I think I’m a lot like you with the trying to control everything…especially my husband! I love your example of the shrimp incident! I’m going to try and start doing the latter like you did instead of freaking out about it! I always defend my “crazy” control as I’m teaching my husband the “right” way to do things. Which is totally wrong. 🙂

    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone and help me to see a better way!

    Comment by Michele | January 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Glad you took something away from it. Learn to relax a little bit; your hubby will appreciate it..think of it this way: YOU are learning how to do thing the ‘right’ way, as in not trying to control everything:)
      appreciate your comments and thanks for checking out the blog!!

      Comment by Jane | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. There is only one thing you can control in life and that’s your reaction to it. My Grandmother used to say that to me all the time, and I’ve always believed it was good advice!

    Comment by Roxanne Rieske | January 18, 2010 | Reply

  5. No matter how much I plan, something or someone always shows up and makes everything derail. Yet, it is in my personality to regroup and to plan a come-back, but it is getting very tiring and demoralizing to do so. It is part of the reason I have lost the joy within I once felt. How I wish I could find that joy again.

    Comment by DJ | May 26, 2011 | Reply

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