Do you have a life plan be it tenuous or calculated? Do you know in which direction you are heading? Are you intent on following your life plan, come what may? Are you on a one-way journey from A to B? Are you still planning your journey, knowing where you are going but unsure how to get there?
For some people having a life plan is fundamental to their inner happiness and calm, without it, life, with its many twists and turns becomes full of angst and uncertainty. If things happen along the way to make them stumble they kick it to one side and without too much difficulty they can head forward on their journey to their destination which may waver as they discover alternative routes and pathways.
For others, their life plan can be a prescription for living with each step carefully planned, each choice weighed up against a balanced spread sheet of opportunities and threats. Come what may, it is their journey and no-one or nothing will make them deviate or head off in a different direction. Their destination is preordained, it is their destiny.
For many, especially now, a life plan never seems to materialise or get of the ground. In fact the plan comprises a single question mark and a feeling of being lost or drifting. No direction, no life goals and no real thoughts on where they want to head.
The problem with plans is they can so easily be destroyed or hindered by internal and/or external factors. What happens if your plan doesn’t work out? What happens if you suddenly realise that you will never achieve all you wanted or that your life plan is nothing more than a deluded fantasy?
I question if having a life plan is counter-productive. Why do we need a plan? Who says we should have one at all?
Is it possible that the concept of having a life plan is a legacy from a time when you social norms were somewhat prescribed by our forebears, where we were expected to follow the convention of school, college/university/apprenticeship, marry, buy a house, have children, save for their education and our own retirement, work in the same job for 40 years, live in the same neighbourhood as family, retire, become grandparents… and so on.
The problem with this legacy is that the world and society has changed. A linear life plan where there is a final destination is now unlikely due to the shifting sands of social and cultural norms yet many still believe they should have a life plan, why?
Opportunities and threats have increased beyond most people’s imagining.
Perhaps we should re-define the concept of a life plan from a one dimensional linear route map to a 3 dimensional experiential development plan? Instead of heading off with a single-minded vision of your future, take opportunities as they arise, dare to dream something different, try new experiences, meet new people and experience different cultures, create your own opportunities, be the person you want to be instead of the person others expect you to be.
I have seen so many people become disappointed, disillusioned or depressed because their life didn’t work out the way they expected it to. In every case, their life plan, albeit prescriptive or tenuous, was never-the-less, well and truly ingrained in their psyche, a single, one way journey from A-B.
Unemployment, illness, death of a partner, lack of money, inadequate education, social disintegration, unexpected events and unrealistic dreams kicks them off the path and they end up lost and unable to get back on the same track. Standing on the platform with lots of luggage and a one-way ticket.
Just because we do not have a life plan does not make us drifters or wastrels as many are led to believe. Some of the greatest achievers I have come across are people who live for the experiences a life of opportunity makes available.
Perhaps it is time to re-define our plans and experience life, meet people you never thought you would ever meet, take challenges you never thought were possible, dare to dream something different and most of all enjoy your journeys.