Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

The week between Christmas and New Years is a week for planning. I take a long, final look at 2015 and make note of what went well and what didn't. I then turn my attention to 2016 and begin plotting and scheming improvements. I set goals. I devise strategies designed to reach them. Then I try to imagine all of the unseen, unpredictable obstacles out there hiding in the weeds that might foil my plans. Some are real, some a product of an overactive imagination. Nonetheless, I consider them and graph out worst case scenarios. This process repeats itself every year during the last week on the calendar. It is quite therapeutic...and almost entirely worthless.

My experience has been that, while making plans is a perfectly worthwhile endeavor, ultimately its value   is highly suspect. It's primary benefit is the false sense of security it brings, endowing us with the notion that we are somehow masters of our fate and in control of events...when nothing could be further from the truth. I could spend an entire week mapping out a flawless blueprint for making 2016 the year I make a million bucks and publish the great American novel...then get in my car, drive home, and get t-boned by a Mack truck at the corner of Cox and Broad.

One of the Mack trucks of life is health problems. Nearly 13 years ago I was t-boned by an out of the blue emergency open heart surgery. One minute you're indestructible, the next you're laying on a stretcher in a freezing cold room counting to ten backwards for an anesthesiologist from Thailand. Such are the vagaries of life. Today, I go back to my cardiac doctor for a checkup after a week of troubling symptoms. It's been a while. I'm supposed to go every couple of years...it's probably been four years since I've seen him. Hopefully, all is well. Hopefully he doesn't throw a monkey wrench in my impeccably air-tight, fool proof plans for 2016.

The last week of the year, a time for reflection and analysis. But each time I do it, I'm reminded of that famous John Lennon quote..." Life is what happens to us while we are busy making plans..."