Posted by: First Mate | May 19, 2010

Life Plan?

“Living” is what happens when someone develops a “Life Plan.”  I confess I would like to be an organized planner because I am sort of a control freak. Yet as one of the world’s greatest procrastinators, sticking to a plan is difficult for my ADHD/adrenaline needy brain.  Sailing has actually helped this whole issue, because you need to make a plan, but you can’t prepare for everything.  So you always have that adrenaline rush combined with the relaxation of being on the water without the tedium of the mainland.  But sailing is LIVING with a capital L.  The smells, sounds, feel of the rolling swells, salt and breeze are just as amazing as the exhaustion of cleaning the boat after a day out or even the fabulous taste of almost anything after a day of sailing. It is true revival in my book.

Our community is a very rural, semi-remote area of the North Pacific…thus some planning is essential due to road closures, electrical outages, flooding, hurricanes, etc.  And living a few miles north of the first LDS temple built outside of the continental US, the good-natured and well-informed preparedness routine of the local Mormon community is a good way for me to procrastinate my daily work of medical education and grant writing to learn about how to plan for some unknown DISASTER.   My thinking is – when you plan for it – it rarely  happens, if it does, you can handle it.

Googled “life plan”  Life Plan from Inc and found how to develop one by using a bunch of questions on where you want to live, fun, friendships, society, exit(?) or retirement plan, family, etc…..  REALLY??  The one time I started to implement a “plan” for my life was when I swore off dating 9 years ago.  Obviously, as you have read I have a “Captain” and our 8th wedding anniversary was yesterday, thus my life plan of becoming a successful career woman without a license to date based on previous bad choices was unsuccessful.   We will have been together 9 years to the day on June 11th. We didn’t really date, we sort of moved in together and got married a year later.  But I sure am living and in the end I got what I really wanted but may have been afraid to admit: an amazing husband and a wonderful new family – some existing (2 grown sons, a grown daughter, in-laws, exs) and some new – the Princess and Dee Bird.

Thus I have very little faith in “Life Planning.”  No offense, I rate it on par with Life Coaching,  Marriage Therapy, Self Help, Dieting and Analysis.  All ways, in my humble opinion, to find someone else to tell you what to do so that you don’t have to take responsibility for feelings and actions that can be scary, painful or disturbing.  Thankfully, I have never been in marriage therapy, because Captain and I feel it is just a way to hire a referee who will hopefully chose your side….  We would rather hire a cleaning lady who helps us look like the perfect couple and just yell or snap at each other whenever/wherever we feel stressed.  I have been on diets, see thoughts on toilet paper from first post, a moderate life style works better for me and long ago I figured out I will never be a super model.  Did a Freudian analysis when I lived in New York and it was a colossal waste of time and money to find out that I am the way I am.  At the time of the analysis I had a wonderful gay boss who worked in medical education to support his hobby of Opera singing, his advice was dump therapy, move to California and buy a convertible.  He was right, problem solved in a manner of speaking. Self Help can be beneficial and I don’t want to write it off entirely, just poke fun at it.  According to the self-help post in Wikipedia

Research firm Marketdata estimated the “self-improvement” market in the U.S. as worth more than $9 billion in 2006 — including infomercials, mail-order catalogs, holistic institutes, books, audio cassettes, motivation-speaker seminars, the personal coaching market, weight-loss and stress-management programs. Marketdata projected that the total market size would grow to over $11 billion by 2008. Self-help

I wonder how cognitive therapists view this market? Probably as a gold mine if they are writing books, as would pharmaceutical manufacturers.  How many anti-depressants are on the market now anyway?  I loved the movie All About Steve whose main character is a cruciverbalist (this whole post is about getting that word in – see, I am smart) a crossword puzzle constructor, who says she believes you should do crosswords in pen because they are about choosing a path and sticking to it.  What a great metaphor for life, no?    Self-help seems to be a self perpetuating reality of the short term placebo affect as a way to understand life and how difficult it can be at times.

I digress, oh yeah, my perfect marriage, I could write an entire post about how great my Captain is because he took Princess and I on fabulous romantic getaway for our anniversary, yet I live in the real world.  He is an amazing and brilliant man and I love him more each day, because we are married (why not be honest?) I don’t always like him but I always love him.  Last night after driving the 40 minutes home from art class, Princess fell asleep in the car.  Everyone needed a shower, the weather was nice and we are all swamped with work and life, so we decided on ordering a pizza and watching a movie.   An hour + after ordering, we call on the pizza, no order was ever placed from the main number (not our local franchise), bedtime is 30 minutes away and we are all hungry and it will take at least 40 minutes to an hour to get the pizza we ordered 1.5 hours ago.  Captain Bligh nobly decides he will cook after swearing to never order a pizza again. Super romantic, yes.  In my book, yes, super romantic.  You see in the past five years:

  1. I have moved 2500-2900 miles from my family (A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life.)
  2. Had a large tumor removed from my neck (benign – thankfully)
  3. Watched a beloved parent decline and pass away
  4. Been through a cancer scare and major surgery with captain
  5. Watched a traumatic life threatening injury with Princess: ventilator, ICU and thankfully recovery
  6. Been ripped off by a colleague – being conned hurts financially and emotionally
  7. Captain’s brother became disabled, major surgery scheduled after 8 mos of pain
  8. Captain’s son addressing a major health issue with surgery TODAY

So for me, being together and having a sense of humor and perhaps a few fermented crushed grapes with food makes the best celebration someone like me can imagine. As I said last night, 8 down, 72 or however more of these celebrations to go.  We will see what the “living” brings.  Enjoy the journey not only the destination.



  1. I like this post. You need a “like” button on this blog.

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