Plan to not make plans –
The problem with living the type of transient life I lead is that … it is transient. And while that means that I can pick up and swop direction at the change of an island bikini, it also means that I am at the mercy of the ebb and flow of life around me. But I have come to realise that I am ok with change. No five-year plan has ever reached maturity for me.
A year after I moved to New Zealand, I bought the best washing machine I could almost afford. I justified the over-spend by the fact that I had just moved to my new homeland and I would be using the miracle-washing technology for at least ten years. Two years later, I was giving it away to the students down the road and making plans to leave the country. When I bought my kids a pair of kick-ass bicycles and insisted they take a course on the streets of London, we packed up our home, sold the bicycles and moved once again. One year, just after I gave up on an idea of moving to Chile, I bought the car of my dreams. (No – not the Lambo with its sleek lines and snazzy door that opens in a different direction to most). Soon after I bought the car, I got even more confident and brought home the most precious Collie. We named her Chile.
Can you guess what happened next? Is it not obvious? Before the year ended, I was on a plane to the Paradise Island of Mauritius, leaving behind Chile as well as my new little black FIAT 500 Pop. See – long term plans don’t stick around. Someone once asked me if I thought I was cursed. It didn’t take me more than a zeptosecond to respond with an astounding “HELL NO!”
I love change. I mean real change. Don’t get me started on the little things though. I go a little bit bonkers when a guest brings the clothes horse into the house and leaves it in the stairwell instead of the kitchen. I can be brought to tears every time I need to adapt to the latest computer upgrade. And at work, I was known to do more than a little bit or eye-rolling when someone changed the way the emails sat on my screen. So when it comes to the trivial changes that seem so important at the time of impact – na I’m not so good, but I do love change.
At the beginning of the year, I returned to “My Island”, and I renewed my visa for three more years. I should have given it some thought. I should have known better, when we sat at sunset on my balcony admiring the changing colours of the horizon, talking about our plans for the next few years. I should have felt that the wind was changing. As we booked tickets and overseas trips and smugly boasted about our plans, I should have anticipated that long term plans were the catalyst for change in my life.
Over the last few months, I have been preaching to all who will listen about acceptance. Like a person who just found gold, I have been giving people the map I found to happiness. But then it occurred to me that I have not been practicing the belief I’ve been spouting. I have a life of transience, but I keep making plans. Our stay in Mauritius is coming to an early end. I won’t lie, I am sad. I love sweating instead of a cool breeze. Surprisingly, I love being isolated instead of in the hub of a group. I’m ok buying shelf life milk instead of fresh.
So now that it is all about to end, my plan is to embrace impermanence. This time I’m making no solid plans. Sometime between March and April, I’ll make the last stop at my airport with the musical name, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. For the last time, I will take the four-hour flight to South Africa and once there, I will find an Airbnb to stay in for a while. I will buy a car. Not my dream car just one that gets me around Southern Africa. And then… Who knows what then? Time to be capricious.