On Making Plans for My Sanity (Or, At Least, Decreased Insanity)

This is by Max Ernst. It evokes a horizon, and thus it works for this post. OK?

This is by Max Ernst. It evokes a horizon, and thus it works for this post. OK?

I’m totally the type of person who can only survive the day-to-day when there are things up ahead to look forward to. Vague, lofty ideals like a potential white wedding or children who will grow to resent me do not count. They need to be concrete plans…or, at the least, notes scribbled into planners or floating in iPhone calendars. When these things aren’t in place, I’m a deeper shade of miserable than on average, gliding through life asking myself too many big questions that, for some reason, the mere act of planning seems to subdue.

I’m sure it has something to do with making what’s essentially a meaningless life, well, meaningful. And while better people than me might be able to find that solely in the sunshine or a cup of hot tea on rainy day, I struggle to subsist on those elements alone. Instead, I fiend after plans, always trying to lock them down a little earlier than most, with a dash of aggression that I tell myself is charming.

Cue planning for the holidays this year—specifically Christmas. First, I texted friends to find out if they’d be in Chicago, where my mom lives, to decide if stopping there en route to California to see my brother would be worth it. When people didn’t respond quickly enough they were met with follow-up texts that had the grating enthusiasm of Good Morning America hosts before you’ve had coffee. “Helloooooooooooo?” I tried, pretending to be sarcastic, while really just desperately hoping they could give me something that might fill the inner void. It shocked me that this was not THE MOST IMPORTANT THING they could be considering right now.

Next was the laissez-faire attitude of my mother and brother in settling on dates for our California trip. They seemed far less anxious about the ordeal than I did, suddenly consumed with worry about spiked ticket pricing despite the fact that my mom is the one ultimately paying for it. I’d like to say that was just me looking out for her wallet, but it was simply another attempt to satiate my pining after future plans. “Why the rush?” my mother texted me after a particular onslaught of planning aggression. The thirteen year old in me could barely fathom the question, with my kneejerk response comprised only of: “Well, BECAUSE.”

The irony of this habit is that I don’t exactly relish each plan when it’s happening—usually finding trips to be too long or too social for my sensitive, introvert nature. “You have a three-day limit,” my stepmom noted this summer when I probably did an awful job of hiding that I was ready to get-le-fuck-out of France. Yes, even in France. But this is just one of those realities I deny to myself over and over again, in lieu of more comforting facades like that of having plans down the line to quell my existential dread.

Sometimes a little self-inflicted delusion is necessary for getting by, as are concrete future plans—little marks on the horizon that give you something real to work towards, even if that’s simply the consumption of turkey and stuffing…or a nice California tan to act as a literal “Ghostface Killah.”

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