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Planning your life
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Our society puts great emphasis on planning our lives out from an early age. Parents of children who “just know” they want to be a doctor or lawyer or scientist” are usually pretty proud. Knowing they want to be a musician, artist or comedian, however, does not elicit the same response. We want our kids to be monetarily successful. I grew up in a violent home and my entire “plan” was to move out and be a hippy, which I did at 17. I was able to finish high school and graduate, but had no plans after that. I lived with a boyfriend, who became my husband for 2 years. I didn’t really plan to stay with him forever as that seemed a long time away, and may have been part of the cause of the divorce. I had several jobs that I never planned to have and consequently did not last long. My sister was pregnant and wanted to have her baby in NM, but her partner wasn’t ready to leave, so I quit my job and took her to get a home and settled in. I didn’t plan to stay, but I fell in love with the commune we visited and I did end up living there 10 years – unplanned. I “fell in” with a man who I did not plan to stay with, but we ended up having 2 children. I had built a house and a huge garden that was a joy to me, but I never thought about the future. Eventually I left and had another child with a man I definitely did not want to stay with. I had always thought that it would be nice to have children and to raise them with their father, but I never made a plan to do that. I had all three children while on birth control of different types, so unplanned, but welcome. At this point, I was a single parent of 3 kids and I was 32 years old. For the first time, I needed a plan. I had been weaving, which barely supported us. So, I went to school with a plan to graduate and I did. I made a plan to buy a house and I did. I finished raising my kids, which was not really a plan, but I had never considered any other outcome. My oldest child, a daughter, had watched me go through my idea of a life and decided she wanted none of it. So, she planned her high school graduation and a trip to Europe. She planned to live with her dad a few months, then live in Seattle for the next year while taking a break before College. She planned to be a teacher and went through the program. She planned to be married forever, so after several “trial” relationships, she decided the next one would be her husband. She was dating and told him that if he wasn’t interested in a lifelong married relationship, she didn’t want to waste her time. They married and had the two children she had planned for. She named them each after a town that she plans to take them to at age 17. I felt guilty for a short while, that I had not given her that kind of an example in my life, but actually, I now take credit for showing her the exact opposite and how that can be difficult, a valuable lesson. By the time she had her first child, I was a single woman at age 50, having paid off all my loans and completed all my previous (and basic) life plans. This time I didn’t need a plan, but I wanted one. So, I moved to Seattle to be near my grandkids and mother and the rest of my large family that I had escaped from 30 years previously. My plan would last until the grandkids were raised and my mother died. Neither has happened yet, but in the meantime, I turned 65 and retired. What a surprise it was to realize that I now have a pension and social security. I ended up with the rewards of an ant instead of the grasshopper that I had always been. It seems unfair, really, but I will take it and be grateful. Current plans? To enjoy my life as fully as possible, engage in all the creative endeavors I can, be of service to whomever needs me and to travel. Not a formal plan, really, but it’s how I choose to live.

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