A Letter to Feb: On Leap Days

Contrasting my last post, I flounder a little bit in my goal-getting.

Where does life happen?

For a while, I took pride in being a planner and second-guesser.

In a small way, it was my job. In both my first and current one, I had to second-guess what I was putting out there so I could find the best way to do the work. And it worked.

In a larger way, it’s who I am. I got through some big obstacles in life by thinking it over and over, and by building plans whether I saw them through or not. It got me to where I am, and it kept me safe.

Predictably, it kept me too safe.

I’m pretty sure I missed half my life while I guessed and planned the time away. I ran out of valuable experiences I could have used to improve the plans I was making. It kept the world small.

Weirdly enough, some too-safe, careless choices disguise themselves as leaps of faith. For example: my college course, which was just a safe career path for me. My first job, which I had little to no motivation for except that it kept me fed and employed. Several relationships too, when my gut said no but I took a badly-calculated risk.

I also realized I could schedule too much.

When it was time to jump into action, I tried to stay mid-leap and forgot to hit the ground to recover. Case in point: I burned out bad in January because I was following too many plans. I said yes to too many things and tried to grow my life too quickly.

I missed the part of the Life Manual stating rest was required to move on. I should have scheduled for rest days if that was the only way I could get myself to slow down.

You can’t plan your way through life.

That’s what I learned in February. I declared it a month of rest, and it responded with people to see and places to be every weekend. All for love, of course, and none of it for the greater good of the world. Just to fulfill the familiar truism that life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans.

So I’ve decided that life happens between the bullet points.

It happens between appointments when I’m rushing but I steal a second to pet a puppy. It happens when I show up for coffee, and a friend shows an excitement for my plans that my planner will never give me. It happens between the notes, between ideas, between best-made plans and intentions. It happens between jumping and landing, not when I’m staring at the distance down and counting the odds of making it.

It happens, most of all, when I don’t schedule it to happen to me.

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