Setting out for a long, solitary car ride, I found myself scouring the books on cd section of my local library. Not finding much of interest and running low on time, I grabbed what looked to be a promising title, “Unlimited”. Despite being skeptical after seeing a picture of the infamously tough trainer from the Biggest Loser and the fact that the book was marked “self-help” I thought, what the hell? I could use some advice.
And I could. At the moment, my life seemed to be in shambles. I was wrestling with my self in needing more out of life, but clueless as to what I wanted. I also wanted out of my living situation, but did not know where might be best, or whom to live with. My mom had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which was advancing, paralyzing my decision making. Stay, and lose my youth, or go and lose what I have left of my mom, is the rawest sense of what I was feeling. On top of that, my year and half relationship, already spread across 600 miles, was now going to be a 3,000 mile relationship, as my boyfriend decided to seek relocation in his current job. Advice, trivial or grandiose, I was in need.
Jillian began with a background of her life story, how she got to today and the wonderful influences in her life. She talked about the need to stick with her through her no nonsense brand of coaching, in order for you, the reader, to achieve your most incredible life, with the best relationships, jobs, and gadgets. Mind you, we were not to be frivolous in our dreaming, or think that objects would mean happiness. However, dream it, plan for it, work for it, and it will come.
Chapter One begged the reader to articulate their wants. “That’s it”, I thought, “This is not helpful”. “No, no”, I wrestled with myself, “stick it out. See if this is different”. The book called for you to answer these questions: what do you like, what is your passion, what do you spend your time doing, and on and on. Accelerating into Chapter 2, we discovered that it was already time to set clearly defined goals and paths to achieving them.
“FORGET IT!” I mentally screamed while snapping off the cd player. This is my problem. For a year and a half, I’ve begged myself for goals. I want so badly to be a person who knows what to do and how to go about it. Previous to this stage, I always have! For me, a plan equates to purpose. What good is my life if it is without a plan, and hence, without a purpose?
This has also infected other areas of my life, namely faith and assurance in myself. I have screamed at my God and the Universe for not sending clarity. If I’m supposed to have a goal in mind, then why don’t I? I’ve even briefly thought about borrowing goals just to have some a semblance of a plan.
But, sitting on a hillside the next day with one of my biggest cheerleaders, I realized this truth: maybe I don’t need to have a plan, and maybe that is the point.
Let’s think about this. If I had clear guidelines, I would want to stick to them, at any cost. I would fight all of the unexpected events that came up, push off any possible other adventures because they were not of the plan. Currently without a plan, I feel just that, without. I feel as if I’m already failing at life, when I’ve just barely begun. I do not feel like I’m living, rather like I’m waiting for this all important entity to drop into my lap. Maybe for me, the biggest lesson would be to operate this life without a blueprint. To just live, experience, and find life’s journey along the way.
How frightening and wonderful that sounded. I could now hear important voices in my life, such as my spiritual director, saying to me in the recent past, so what if you don’t have a goal, Kate? Try something, do something for fun. Fail and learn from that. Maybe without a goal, you’ll be able to live into the answer, just as Rilke says.
And so, today, on America’s Birthday, I set out on my for my own independence. I intend to not plan. Yes, I’ll do what needs to get done, but I will not sit and demand of myself a clear design of my life, just so that I am comfortable. I will work on not feeling bad or being hard on myself for not knowing what to do with this gift of my life. Instead, I’ll offer it up. I will work at not comparing myself to others, especially those blessed people who have always known what they wanted to do and how to get it.
My independence is to be free of the only way I’ve ever known to be me: Kate, living with a set idea, working towards a goal. Today, this full independence is to be plan-less, to be free. Why? So that ultimately I can live into me.