Saturday, February 22, 2003

Right. So never mind about all that.

Sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them.

"Life is what happens when you're making other plans," somebody said. A friend decorated her party with this quote on a colorful sign. Unintentionally, she changed between fluorescent and conventional pens, resulting in the black-lit sign announcing cryptically to all the guests, "PENS YOU'RE MAKING."

I guess plans are the true source of irony. Without them, how would we find ourselves fighting for peace? Or hurting the ones we love? Or suffering from too much of a good thing? We certainly don't plan it that way.

For me, plans have always been a little unreliable, even as early as my very conception. I think my parents never once planned to have kids, but nevertheless I've got four siblings. As my primary role models haven't been particularly reliable with their plans, perhaps I'm taking after them in my own way.

I planned to take a year off of my nominally conventional life in order to travel. That was four and a half years and nineteen countries ago.

After the first year, I planned to get a job in Europe. I went to India instead.

When I went to India, I planned to go for six months. I finally returned a year and a half later.

From Europe, I was originally planning to go to Mongolia. I went to Africa instead.

After Africa, I planned to establish a home base and take a break from traveling, by joining Karen with her family in New Hampshire. You guessed it, that plan didn't work out either. Now she's getting separated from her husband. It seems that my presence pushed their relationship past its breaking point, around which it had already been hovering.

Sticking to plans doesn't seem to be my strong suit. Strangely, though, in spite of all indications that the future happens without regard to plans, I'm still making them. Will I ever learn?