Friday, March 10, 2017

The Freedom of Having a Plan

I'm sitting at my writing desk, looking out at our backyard and appreciating the sunshine this morning. It's cold out, but that doesn't bother me as much as cloudy days do.  As I was sitting here, I was journaling, and as I was journaling, I was reminded that I need to put supper in the crock pot for tonight.

This realization gave me pause to realize how freeing having a plan can be.  In this case, it is a meal plan, something pretty simple.  I try to make one up every week, but I don't always stick to it and sometimes I don't get to the store in time in order to get what I need to follow it.  On those days (and weeks) I find myself scrambling to figure out what to make and eat.  I don't like that feeling, and I especially don't like the stress that comes along with it.  On those days, there is a lot of extra energy that goes into thinking about the fact that I don't know what I'm going to make throughout the day.  Energy that could be better spent in a lot of other ways.

So having a meal plan and sticking with it frees me from that extra stress and wasted energy.  It's liberating in a way that I'm not sure I've really appreciated before.  For the most part, I think I've just thought of a meal plan as something that was helpful and that made supper prep easier.  Now, it feels more enjoyable too.

In the same way, having a financial plan frees me from the worry of how we're going to pay our bills or if we'll have enough money to save for a vacation and those sorts of things.  It's taken us awhile to get to this point, and we've made many sacrifices along the way, but being where we are now is so freeing and much less stressful.  Again, I've gained back precious time and energy by not having to think about it so much and endlessly trying to figure out a way to make ends meet.

As it turns out, even the fact that I have a writing desk was part of a plan I put in place.  I went to a writer's workshop in January that was incredibly valuable.  It was about the practice of writing, and the presenters walked us through a series of questions to help us think about our writing and how we might be more intentional about reigniting our writing life.  They asked us to think about what our ideal writing place would be, what a realistic amount of writing time might be, and what we would do to protect that time.  

Walking through these questions helped me make a plan for my writing, and part of that plan was creating a writing space for me at home, hence the desk that now overlooks the backyard. The desk is a visual reminder of the plan I developed to write regularly, and having a plan has helped me be more deliberate about carving out and protecting this time.

In all these ways and more I'm being reminded this morning how liberating having a plan can be. Sometimes I have been reluctant to make plans because I don't want to feel locked in, and I like a certain degree of spontaneity.  But what I feel this morning is exactly the opposite.  I'm grateful for the freedom and sense of peace that making a plan and eliminating some possibilities can bring.  And now, I'm going to go throw tonight's supper into the crock pot.  

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