The Pleasure and Pain of Planning

“She’d told me: the pleasure isn’t in doing the thing; the pleasure is in planning it.”

I finished reading Paper Towns a couple weeks ago, but this quote has stuck with me. I pride myself on being a very organized planner. I have multiple itineraries for every day I live. At first, I agreed with the idea that fun part is planning. However, I’m starting to think that’s not the case.

This has been a rare week for me where I wake up every day excited for life. I had some free time yesterday morning to meditate by the lake, and it made me realize that I am actually happiest when I am living in the moment. I planned out my life for so many years that it’s been difficult for me to decide what I want in the moment. What do I want right now? First world problems, right?

“Doing stuff never feels as good as you hope it will feel.”

I always hope that the things I plan will be wonderful. Much of the time, things don’t go according to my plan, which makes me want to rip my hair out. However, even when things do go exactly as I planned, I often feel unfulfilled. When I do have free time, I find myself frustrated that I’m not being efficient enough. My schedule the last couple of years has been so crazy that I haven’t allowed myself to have free time. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been slowly trying to ask myself what I want in the moment. What I want to do, what I want to wear, what I want to eat. I’m trying to skip the planning and decide in the moment. I love it.

I already find myself trying new things. Whether it’s checking out the beautiful views of campus from Palm Court in Mundelein, waking up early just to relax in the morning, or even ordering Chinese just because it sounds good. While these seem extremely mundane, plan-crazy Mary would have never done these things, and plan-crazy Mary never would have been able to enjoy these things.

Granted, in a few weeks I’m sure my schedule will be more hectic and I will have less time to stop and smell the roses, but I’m realizing how important it is to make time to have unplanned free time. Moreso than that, I think it’s important to be in-tune to my wants and needs so that I don’t feel the need to constantly plan. When I’m planning, I’m thinking about how to be happier in the future. Why am I not enjoying the moment as is? In my final weekend of summer, I hope to do just that.

“At some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away too.”

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