As a child, I was happy frolicking around with no schedule. In college, I resisted organization to the point of refusing to use my dorm desk for study, rather it housed my awesome keyboard. I celebrated being an INFP on the Myers Briggs. (That’s Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver, which basically means I didn’t even own one of those trendy organizer-planner thingees, whatever.) College was great for spontaneity. Feeling like driving into San Francisco? Cool! Feel like seeing Beach Blanket Babylon? Cool! Whoops, it’s sold out. Want to see Phantom of the Opera instead? Cool! I did seem to have a knack for planning which courses to take and when to take them, it seemed. (I knew the one finite math class was offered in alternate years and would steer my liberal arts friends toward it.)
Eventually I learned how to marry my spontaneous nature with the necessity of responsibility. You have to plan (at least a little), in order to have fun. Fortunately, I am drawn to research. I don’t always enjoy the coordination with others that planning sometime requires. I find there are more people who resist planning than I thought. Some people like to think of themselves as spontaneous, but they aren’t really. And there are others who always seem to want to change the plan to tailor their own individual needs, not of the group. Those are the ones who accuse you of Not Deviating “the Plan.”
Here’s what I have learned: Plan, to Have Fun.
In order to manage our family’s activities and household needs, I have to pretty much map out the weekends. Then we have everything we need, and nobody’s late.
Disneyland. Disneyworld. Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure. There are places you can’t go without having a plan. Otherwise you end up standing in line all day like the Heck Family did in the television show, the Middle. I raced through US:IOA in Spring Break 2012 with a 103* fever because I wanted to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first thing. As you do. (But be flexible, a ride could shut down and then you might have to adjust accordingly.)
I have plotted and outlined whole novels. I even assigned myself scenes to write on certain days. That hasn’t totally panned out, as sometimes my characters tell me they had other plans! Also, halfway through November, Life interrupts and we have to take a road trip, start Christmas shopping, order holiday cards, etc. You know. Remember this photo of my Advent Calendar?
I research our vacation destinations with pleasure. I study the airline entertainment options. I study the cruise ship’s entertainment. I pin packing tips on Pinterest. I have chargers for all devices and a mini powerstrip. I make lists and lists and lists. I pre-purchase museum tickets (or show tickets) online prior to our departure. I plan my outfits and the kids’, so that we pack minimal items and do a wash halfway through the trip. Myself, I chose two accent colors and basic neturals, so anything can be switched. For my kids, I choose brightly colored clothing for the days when we will be in busy crowds, so that I can easily spot them.
Because then, I can relax, knowing all this was already planned. Sure there are some details that we figure out when we get there, but generally, I have an idea of what we are doing and when before we even get there.
Sometimes plans change. Like when we missed our ship excursion due to having overslept. (Whoops !) So we improvised, enjoying a delightful afternoon in Sicily, and it was perfect. Also, our reserved tour was cancelled in Barcelona, so after a quick consult of a handy guidebook, I suggested a fun tram ride with sweeping views and a walk along the beach in Barceloneta, and tapas, before heading to visit La Familia Sagrada. One of the best afternoons of our trip, for sure. (Stay tuned for my Mediterranean Cruise travel journals!)
What are some ways that you plan to have fun?