I am a planner. I like to make plans. I like to implement plans. I like to stick to the plan. Keep this in mind while you read this true story.
A number of years ago, I had the good fortune to travel to Italy with some friends. I volunteered to be the trip planner. As we were preparing for the trip, before the final plan was put together, I would solicit from each person what they wanted to see or do with our time in Italy. Every other week or so, I would send out a possible plan and asked for input.
Before we knew it, we were on the plane to Italy. We were three days into the trip, and everything was going according to plan, with the exception of getting lost on our way from Venice to Sienna. When we finally arrived at our bed and breakfast, our host, Claudia, asked what our plans were for our stay in Sienna. As we started to tell her our plans, she nodded her head affirmatively until we said we were going to take a day trip to a remote village. It was then she said very authoritatively, “No, not possible.”
We were all a bit surprised by her strong reaction. Of course, my first thought was, “Well, there goes the plan!” In her defense, she explained in a much more compassionate voice that the roads were not direct and it was not an easy drive and it would take us too much time to make the trip there and back in one day. So on to plan B.
By the end of the trip, we were at least at plan L or M, and I freely admit the changes in plans were not only okay, they were wonderful.
It seems to me that in these days that are so unsettling and plans can change on a dime and are changing on a dime, we have the opportunity to live in the moment and be present to what is in front of us. It can be a hard task for the planners among us, this not looking too far into the future. Actually, it can be hard for any of us. But it can also be liberating. So, let us take this opportunity not to have a plan, to fly by the seat of our pants, to live in the moment, and see it for the gift that it is.