Be Prepared to Wing It

Melissa Murray, in a few short hours I would be five miles above it, in the cold steely blue of enemy skies, 2017

Conventional wisdom says there are two kinds of people in life – the planners and the spontaneous.

Planners are seen as hyper-organized and always in control. Spontaneous people are viewed as forgetful and lacking discipline.

And yet, I know some people with immaculate homes who are always running late. I know some people who never forget to send a birthday card but aren’t the least bit concerned about making their bed in the morning.  Like gender and race and morality, not all of us fit squarely into just one category when it comes to structure in our lives.

Making plans and being open can appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. A plan is generally attached to a specific goal, while openness is associated with searching without restraints.

Stereotypically, planners like to know exactly what’s going to transpire, how and when, while people who are open like to let things happen as they may.

And yet, openness is a worthy goal in itself. The things we find in a state of openness can help shape our plans. Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes the thing standing in our way of our goals is rigidity.

We may devise a plan that doesn’t work with the reality of the situation, or we may be drawn into a situation where we can’t control all of the elements. That is when we need the presence of mind to be open and flexible and think on our feet.

How do we make plans and stay open? Listen to what calls you. And then listen some more. When alternate opportunities appear as we travel down a path, it’s important to allow ourselves to make small detours or stops if we want to explore something of interest.

How can we be open and still make plans? Sometimes we need to be prepared to wing it.

While we may lack specifics around a long-term goal, there are some things we can conjure – a mood, a feeling, a picture. Think about what you have to address in order to achieve that. These things can be basic, they can be unique to your situation. They can be tangible or intangible. Some of them will be easier won than others. That’s all part of the work.

The important thing is to know what is and is not for you – when it’s time to listen and when it’s time to change the channel. All of this can be felt if we look deep inside and strip away the layers that may be obscuring the truth.

Sometimes these truths are intertwined and it’s required to slowly unravel them like we would a tangled necklace. This takes focus and patience and some days we’ll want to shove it in a drawer and deal with it later. It’s okay to do that, as different problems require different mindsets.

Eventually, the need will reappear and if we want to unleash the great big life that we’re dreaming of from under wraps, we will have to unfurl it and let it stand on its own.

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