22 May 2013

30 Days - Day 22 - Moving, Planning and Choosing Not to Plan (aka Winging-It Like a Pro).

I still find it amazing that I come to sit here every day without knowing what I'm going to talk about. My teacher heart still finds that weird. Like I've said before, besides being a checkout chick at Uni, every job I've ever had has required pre-planning. It's kinda refreshing to wing-it.

Wing-it; I'm not really much of a wing-it person, but I'm becoming more so (quite a lot so) actually.

On Saturday we were helping family move and then going to a family party up the coast. Big day and we knew it.

On top of that - the family that was moving, and those that were helping them, were all going to the party, too. Wowsers.

It was always going to be tricky with timing. You know what moving days are like. You stack it all in and pull it all out at your destination; sometimes multiple times. These things take as long as they take and then you order pizza and lie comatose on the floor at 6 pm that night!

But we couldn't do that - we had to be somewhere else with our party on at 6 pm and it was going to take some planning to make it happen. And hey, we were happy to do it.

The party had a very wide arrival time (a few hours), but dinner was at 6 pm. We were aiming for 5 pm and needed to leave between 1 and 2 pm to make it on time.

So, we made our plan, started loading stuff and time ticked on. By the time 2 pm rolled around it was obvious things weren't going to go according to plan. Our car and trailer weren't unpacked yet and we still needed to drive across town, load furniture that was going with us to the party (they bought a dining suite and we were taking it up for them), get ready for the party and drive the hour and 15 mins up there.

Hmmm, I knew we weren't going to make it.

I also knew I couldn't work out a new plan because there were too many variables, so I just left it and thought, "We'll get there when we get there, it'll be fine."

When things don't go to plan you can do one of two things:

1. Make a new plan.

2. Wing-it.

On this day I chose to wing-it because I'd employed option three so many other times in my life that I decided I wouldn't do it anymore.

Option 3 - Get all worked up because things weren't going to plan.

Planners like me can organise schedules, timetables and problem solve things like this with their hands tied behind their backs and their eyes closed. Truly!

Make a plan?

No problem!

Make things go to plan?

Easy...

Organise things so they'll work out?

Sure, give me something I can't do.

Adjust the plan?

If I have to, but the first plan was a good one.

Throw the plan out the window?

Um, what? Why? It's a good plan!

You see things get thrown in the way of plans. Spanners if you will.

Life.

People.

Traffic.

The fact that I'm not God and I can't see everything.

God! He puts Himself in the way of plans...

Other unforeseen circumstances.

Stuff, just stuff.

So, what I've learned over the years is that it's good to have a plan. Yes, planning is good; it helps us get where we need to go and helps us stay on track.

But what I've also learned is that it's good to be able to change those plans or heck, just throw them out the window.

Plans can be changed. By nature they're changeable. They're never set in concrete. They're thoughts (changeable) or written on paper (changeable).

And they're supposed to be that way because they're plans. They're ideas; they're a let's-try-it-like-this-to-see-if-it-works type thing.

In teaching I wrote a lot of plans, but I had to change them all the time. Annoying! It's what you do though...again, they're plans and things don't go according to them just because they're written on a piece of paper.

Ever watch Grand Designs where people build houses without a plan?? Like, what are you people doing? Don't you know you need a plan? Of course they always end up with windows that are too high or ceilings that are too low, but they still get a house in the end; just not a perfect one. What house is perfect anyway?

Ever watch Grand Designs where people build houses off the plan and don't allow themselves to change anything because they think it'll cost too much money? (Actually I don't know if I have, but whatever, just go with me).

What we've got is the "Wing-it, I-have-no-plan" types (shudder) and the "I'll-stick-to-the-plan-no-matter-what" types (another shudder).

Neither is me.

I've known this for a long time. I'm a mix of the two - the teacher and the artist. The planner and the wing-it girl. The organiser and the "It'll work itself out" type.

Not one.

Not the other.

Both.

Both.

Makes me breathe in deeply, that does.

I think it's a good way to be...

Have a plan, but be willing to adjust it.

Holy Infertility, Batman, talk about adjusting plans!

And you know what?

I'm okay with it.

Now.

Truly.

It is what it is and I just need to get with the new plan. I don't know if the new plan will include bits of the old plan, but I know HIS PLANS ARE GOOD because He told me so here.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Notice it says to give me a future?

Remember how I said that infertility affects everything, particularly the future?

Well, God has promised to give me a hope and future. Something to look forward to. Something to fulfil. Something to live in, instead of living without.

So, I'll adjust.

I'll keep walking.

I'll keep showing up.

I just wanted to say, too, that a lot of what I've been saying over the last 22 days is not how I feel at this exact moment (or that exact moment). Some of the things are how I have felt, used to feel and are feelings I have had over the years. With all this typing it's hard to convey exactly what I mean and how I mean it every single time. And even if I did say exactly what I wanted to each time it'd be interpreted differently by everyone anyway. It's the way of it.

Like I said, this writing for me is based on a plan (write for 30 days) and winging-it when I sit down. Hello, both.

Wing-it. Who wings it on important stuff like this? I still find that hard to get my head around. Winging-it was such a no-no at Uni. Wing-it? You can't wing-it! Get those plans organised now!

Oh, I just realised that's another reason why I'm not in the classroom - because of the plans. Writing plans, following plans, sorting plans, organising plans. God didn't want me around plans! He didn't want me to have too much control either - I talked about that before way back on Day 3.

What it comes down to is my plans, His plans, my plans, His plans.

Adjust, adjust, adjust.

Wing-it, plan it, wing-it (it's good for ya), plan it, wing-it where it doesn't matter like in your crafting and if it doesn't work out, who cares?

Oh, that's why God gave me a love for crafting!! So I'd practise winging-it!! And winging-it in a safe place where the outcome didn't really matter. Ah ha, makes more sense now. I always knew I was learning about inspiration and creativity and just-going-with-it, but I didn't realise those tendencies would be used in relation to my whole life plans.

This is interesting, this is good. To make all these connections and have them written down in some sort of context is important for me.

I remember when I wrote my first Punch Art book. It came out when I'd been teaching Punch Art classes for about a year or so. It made the teaching process so much easier because all of a sudden we had something that everyone could refer to and copy from at the same time. And that they could buy, too. Was excellent all round.

I feel the same about all this writing. The face that it's written down and I can print it out - well, it's good. That Punch Art book is not perfect. In fact, I've got one copy that I've circled all the mistakes in.

This writing isn't perfect either, but it's down, I've tried my best and that's what counts. And it's out of my head...that's what I needed. That's what I needed with the Punch Art book too - I knew I needed to get all the ideas out of my head which in turn made room for new ones.

I remember that - Book 1 (the light blue one) was a compilation of all my ideas to date with some new ones thrown in. I went through everything I'd made and decided what to use in the book and what to make new. Number one is my favourite of all the books because I like the light blue colour best and it was the easiest to put together. The front cover was easy, too. A couple of adjustments and we were done.

When I wrote Book Two (green) I had to come up with a lot of new ideas. I wouldn't've been able to come up with those if I hadn't've written Book 1 first. Some new punches had come out by this time, too, and I had a lot of fun making new things and extending on previous ideas. I remember being excited about the way it was coming together and that it was going to be a cracker.

I'm not sure how long it took me to do the art for this book - a few months. I'd work from after dinner until 6 am in the morning. I'd sleep until 2 pm, go for a walk and then maybe relax a bit before dinner and start again. I remember eating two meals a day - dinner, and one during the night at about 2 o'clock in the morning. And all this was while living at my parents' house while we were building our second house.

Other things:
  • The front cover was really hard to put together. My graphic artist and I spent a long time getting that right. 
  • The cover cardstock is heavier than Book One's. 
  • Does it have more pages than Book One? I think it does. 
  • I was down for the count for two weeks when that book was done. I remember sitting in the chair watching TV all day because I couldn't do anything else. If I moved my head it hurt. I gave whatever I had to Dad and he moaned and groaned a lot. Sorry, Dad. 

With all of my previous ideas exhausted, Number Three required a lot of pre-planning. I spent months sketching ideas. We went away camping for Easter that year (2004) and I spent the whole time under the tarp sketching and planning. In hindsight I should've relaxed more, but I didn't. I'm like that - once I get a bee in my bonnet I just keep going.

  • It took me eleven weeks to do the artwork for this one. I don't know why I remember that so distinctly. 
  • I remember going to bed every morning feeling like I was behind. We had a schedule and the book needed to be done by a certain date. 
  • Even after I said I wouldn't, I did the same routine again and worked through the night (we were in our new house by this time). 
  • I tried working through the day (it worked somewhat), but I needed to pull long stints to meet the deadline. I don't know why, but my creative juices fire more at 2 am than they do at 2 pm. 
  • If I work through the night now (I still do occasionally; it's not good) I hit the wall at 5 am. Goodnight! I don't go to bed though because Andrew's a light sleeper at that time of day and I hate waking him up that early. 
  • The cover was hard to do...again. If I ever did another cover I'd approach it differently and design it like I designed each page. We did the covers at the end and pulled things from the book to make a collage of artwork. Worked the first time; was extremely difficult the second and third time. 
  • This book had two different graphic artists. Mine had to hand it over because she was close to having her fourth child by that point and couldn't sit for hours on end at the computer any more.   
  • I had a lot of issues with printing this time - it worked out (somewhat) in the end, but I remember all the hassles we had. 
  • I was down for the count for weeks after this book, too. Not a cold, but gastro type stuff. If I ate anything I'd be in a lot of pain until it digested - it made me cry. I could only eat plain food for about three weeks because it was the only thing my body could handle. 
Ah, the memories!

And people say to me often, "Are you writing another book, Debra?" I smile and say, "No, no." Honestly, I've done it three times, I don't know if I could do it again :o) 

Actually a couple of years ago I was writing a Punch Art book in partnership with a new company, but we parted ways because of the money (there wasn't enough coming in my direction, basically). I know the work it takes and I wasn't prepared to do it for the tiny amount offered so, no book. Sad because I've made a lot of new things since 2004 and it'd be nice to have them in a book. 

Anyway - plans and control!

Me not being around them!

Me adjusting, adjusting, adjusting!

Me not wanting to, not wanting to!

Me having to, having to!

Story of the last 12 years.

Well, it's not going to be the story of the next 12 years, that's for sure. 

By the way - we did make it to the party on Saturday night at about 6:20 pm - they hadn't started dinner, so we were good. We had another hold up in the middle, too, because the birthday boy was in the emergency room at 4 pm that afternoon! You know what emergency room visits are like - they take forever, so I rang my sister to see if there actually was going to be a party and it took a while to get the a-okay because she couldn't get onto her husband because they were in the treatment room at the time, we think! (big breath after that sentence) At 4:30 at the end of my phone call to her I said, "Okay, we'll be leaving as soon as we can." She said, "That's fine, no rush." The truck we got stuck behind on the way up certainly wasn't in a rush. 

Moral of the story? We winged-it and we made it. 

And I didn't have a meltdown, this is important. 

We do try to avoid meltdowns, thus the plans! 

BUT I've realised that being too dependent on plans can lead me to meltdowns and winging-it can be my saving grace. 

What a revelation that is. 

Anyway, the birthday boy was fine after his emergency room visit, we ate food, we ate cake and my brother and I lost it a couple of times laughing because we were so tired. He's the one that moved house that day. 

He was helping me get the table and chairs out of our car and he burped...just like our dad. Like, in the exact same way. He said, "If that doesn't sound like Dad, I don't know what does." 

It was one of those slow burn jokes. I giggled...then laughed...then lost it.  

We took the chairs out, took them inside and came back for the table. It was wedged between the wheel shafts and we had to pull a bit to get it out (it was in the back of our 4WD ute). Dad came to help us and  started to suggest the best way to get it out. Pete kept pulling at the table and said, "Dad, I can't stop right now, I'm on a roll. If I see furniture I just have to move it." 

I lost it again. My brother always makes me laugh. Dad chuckled too, I'll bet, although I couldn't see him in the dark. Poor Pete, he'd been moving stuff into the new house for days (Saturday was just the last of it all and the big stuff) and he was so tired.  

So, I laughed. I commiserated and I gave him a big hug. 

Sometimes the best things happen when things don't go according to plan.  

:o)

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