Dream. Plan. Do.

24 May

I wrote this on a fluorescent pink post-it note today and thumb tacked it to my wall:  Dream. Plan. Do.  On this particular wall, I have many reminders:  love myself first,  have all you need/need all you have.  Things like that.  I also have one that poses the question, what’s right with me?  But, today I find myself in this verrryyyy…how shall I say it?  Mood of polar opposites in which I, as my best friend aptly put it, can’t decide whether I am Mother Teresa or Nietzsche.  Concisely, everything matters and there is every reason to drop everything and save the world and…nothing matters, we’re dying daily.

At 6:15 this morning I euphorically took part in sunrise, the breezy gentle morning, my dog’s soft ears, and the mockingbirds singing that wake me up day after day.  At 8:00 my dog looked so cute and peaceful resting on my bed I had to lie down with him and we regained consciousness around 10:00.  At 11:00, I got in the shower only to have a freaking temper tantrum when my well meaning but unhandy landlord inexplicably and with no advance warning turned the water off for the ten billionth time this week.  At 12:30, groggy, without coffee, half soapy,  and having  tantrum aftershocks, I had lunch with my mom at a sadly Americanized Mexican restaurant where the servers call everyone bonita and say things first in Spanish and then translate into English.  It felt a little like an episode of Sesame Street.  I don’t know, for the rest of the day I just couldn’t shake the fatalism.

Yeah,  yikes.  That’s what I said.  So I think the “save the world but nothing matters” existential crisis began with no coffee this morning.  No coffee, in fact, until 6:30 this evening…hence, the sudden motivation to write.  I’m doing! Well, the other motivation is the fact that I promised myself I would temper the control issue flare-up I also seem to be experiencing today by doing something I can control.  Like cleaning my house.  I’m not doing. If I’m doing one thing I’m neglecting another.  And if I planned to write I would be cleaning my house.   It’s all so backwards.  Which brings me back to the pink post-it and Dream. Plan. Do.

Part of me mocks myself.  Seriously,  who needs a post-it to remind themselves to follow-through with things they want?  Yes,  it is prudent to make lists of things to do.  But reminders to do them?  I don’t know.  It’s a little fishy to me.  I always feel like I’m the only one who has the shortcomings I have.  I think the next post-it reminder I’ll write will read:  You’re not the only one.  Because logic tells me that I can’t be the only one.  Fear tells me I am.  Experience tells me that fear lies.  And so,  I write myself  little self-helpish reminders on different shades of day glo post-it notes with rainbow hued Sharpies.  It feels productive.  Until I see the notes every day and they blend into the landscape of my days.  Maybe I need to write a reminder to read the reminders, you know?

Dream.  Plan.  Do.  Seems easy enough, right?  Yeah, yikes again.  That’s what I said.  So I called my best friend because we are both die hard idealists (translate:  we dream of perfection and have hard times getting things done.  One of us more than the other.  I’ll let you guess who.) and have talked existential crises since we were like, six years old  and so I think she’ll understand.  And I simultaneously know that I am dialing her because it is yet another mechanism of avoiding doing what I planned.

When she answers, I feel startled because I rarely get her because she’s usually saving the world.  (Backstory:  I knew she had more of a chance of saving the world when, in the second grade, our school showed us a film on starving children in Cambodia. You know, the films that are in no way mincing the message, all children have distended bellies and flies walking across their faces and are too weak to wave or swat at them.  And by the end credits she was in tears and I had no idea what we just watched.)   Anyhow, now she saves the world in her spare time.  In between getting her graduate degree.  She’s cool that way.  She can multitask.  She doesn’t have post-it reminders on her wall.

So tonight I call her and she’s sorting through signs because she’s doing another planet saving activity tomorrow.  Something about rallying against the opening of a coal plant in her area.  And I’m calling hoping to bounce some insanity off of her to see what she thinks.  I’m helping her.  She’s going to be a therapist.  (Wait a second. Coal.  Who the hell uses coal anymore?)  But she’s really busy sorting through her signs and she’s mumbling incoherently, some rhyming slogan they will chant tomorrow .  And I’m not totally sure who she’s talking to.  And then she urges me to keep talking.  And I do, but I’m not getting much dialogue or feedback.  And then for sure I know that I’m only staying on the phone to avoid doing what I planned.  So I get off the phone and make a scrambled egg sandwich.

Then I decide to write.  Which I dream of doing for reals. Like for publication.  So, there’s proof right there that my post-it is working.  I’m dreaming of writing.  No prob.  And I’m doing by dreaming, right?  A little bit.  Kind of.  I guess the glitch is in the planning department.  If I plan on doing something, generally I do something else.  So that’s one thing we covered in this phone call is what people would say about us when we die. I’m totally worrying people will remember me for being flaky and my planet saving friend says,  yeah, but if you’re consistent…and I say, yeah, so people will say things like “she was consistently inconsistent…you could count on that!” Funny.  But not.

And then after the phone call, the scrambled egg sandwich, the grapefruit, the staring at the ceiling (a.k.a. “dreaming”) and the mulling over our conversation I remember…I’m having a birthday next month which reminds me that I have to have a plan because I don’t want to live another unaccomplished year.  But I’m a little scared of planning because when I plan, I do something else. So maybe I won’t plan.  Planning is overrated.

Maybe a list.  There is nothing more satisfying than a list.  On a yellow lined legal pad.  That you can cross off with a big fat sharpie.  Yeah.  And maybe now’s a good time to answer the question someone once asked me: what do you want, no fear, no bullshit, regardless of whether or not you think it is possible?  I’ll build my list from that.  And let’s say this post-it note transforms my life.  Let’s say I’m not sticking these things on my wall in vain.  Let’s even go so far as proposing that I’m not just a freaking wizard in planning other people’s lives…that I have an idea of what I want in my own…and how to get there.  So, um…first thing on my list?  Keep your eyes out for my published work.  This coming year.

I’ll keep you posted.  Ha.  No pun intended.  Mother Teresa?  Nietzsche?  They seem to have checked out for the moment.

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One Response to “Dream. Plan. Do.”

  1. Sara May 25, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    You are such a good storyteller! From the very beginning of your story I was right there with you. Keep the memoirs coming:)

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