Failing to plan is planning to live

Embracing the hidden importance of living in the moment

Akila Muthukumar, Staff Writer

We plan.

There is a certain sense of comfort from knowing you have made the reservations for the night’s dinner or you have triple checked the weather before the family picnic.

The epitome of the good student, likely to succeed in life and the ideal candidate for a promotion, is one who organizes their time and plans for it all.

The endless to do list seems a bit more manageable when every activity has been squeezed into its own time. Daily planners, weekly planners, monthly planners. Big squares, small squares, lined squares, blank squares. At this age, the digital planner.

With Thanksgiving break around the corner I should feel excited for a restful respite from hectic school days. Yet, I only feel dread thinking about the overwhelming number of appointments and assignments that I must finish.

Even vacations, meant for relaxation, have schedules set for hotel check ins, rental car pick ups, massage times, restaurant times and return flight times.

In the 21st century, we are always working with an insatiable desire for a better phone, a better job, a better life. We plan daily so we can work endlessly and reach the greener grass.


We should embrace spontaneity.

Peel ourselves away from the planner and for one day go out there and let life happen.

Do not make reservations. Take the family out to a fun fast food. Better yet, cook at home. Have your picnic in the rain: maybe the picnic basket cannot be opened, but suddenly, your family opens up.

The most valuable characteristic that a student or professional should have is handling the unexpected, taking things in stride and making the best of every situation.

According to businessman Federico Foli, we should all learn to let go of control.

“We live in so much stress, mostly generated by a mind that is all over the place,”Foli wrote in a Huffington Post article titled Impermanence in business and life. “We believe we can plan and really have full control of every aspect of [our personal life]. Remind yourself it is not in your power to have full control of all the unexpected events.”

Although we don’t have any scheduled vacations this Thanksgiving, perhaps my family will take an unanticipated trip. If we do, we will be sure to explore the new city without looking down at guidebooks and maps, but into the faces of local residents. After all, they know the best foods, the coolest attractions and most beautiful spots of the city.

Take a break from the check engine lights (at least temporarily), missed appointments or stressful coworkers. Meet life head on: run in a new park, eat at a street vendor and most importantly – do not check the time.

Suddenly, the grass around you is greener.

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