When The Plan Becomes The Problem

I have a problem.

I’ve come to recognize that my greatest strength is also my biggest weakness and I am suffocating under its weight.

I think too much.

My excessive thinking is getting in my way, and I need my mind to take several seats so I can grab the wheel and put the damn gear in DRIVE.

I like to plan. I get an idea, and I plan its execution. I think about how it can connect to other ideas and people, and causes greater than itself, and its legacy, and its color scheme, and its location, and its target demographic, etc. I talk about it and get people to rally behind. I make it a binder, with dividers, and sheet protectors, and a cover page to slide in the little transparent front insert and the little side insert. And I plan on top of those plans, and flesh out grander schemes of my initial points.

Nobody is going to tell me that’s my problem. Planning is a good thing, and I’m very thorough. What’s bad is to be impulsive and to act before thinking.

But actually, I don’t know which is worse. I kind of envy the other extreme. At least they’re doing something.

Doing.

That’s the problem with planning, with thinking. When does it turn into action? Will it ever?

It doesn’t have to…

And I have found myself here, at this point, where planning has become paralyzing.

It’s a rut.

I’ve been in a rut.

The sinister thing about this kind of rut is that you’re encouraged to stay there. It’s a mirage of getting your shit together. It’s a mirage of having a good outlook and direction. You have a plan! So you’re clearly going somewhere, right?

…Right?

Planning is a convenient escape from the responsibilities of actually getting to where you want to go. You can justify this escape because you always appear to be doing something. You’re planning. That’s commendable. Psychologists have studied this topic. Just talking about your plan and getting praise for it boosts your self-identity as if you already achieved that goal. So you don’t work towards it anymore. Planning halts momentum.

So this is me saying I’m sick of not doing. I realize that I can’t plan away risk. I accept my planning as fuel for my fears of both failure and success. I’m going to think less and just do. I don’t want to always be on the way. I’m going to reach my goals. I am not SEPTA. I refuse to be SEPTA.

SEPTA slogan
A slogan as pathetic as it is brilliant.

PS, that picture ended up being a thumbnail for a YouTube video of “We’re Getting There (official music video)” by Michal Pearl Waldfogel. You should check it out and have a laugh, because it was a comical find.

Homeless Encounters

I was walking around downtown the other day. It was kind of hot out, and I was running to a few different places. I go past City Hall, over where the sub entrance is, and these homeless guys start yelling at me. I had headphones on so I just ignored them and acted as if I didn’t hear them. But I did hear them…

“What is you wearing tights on for?”

“Ay. Ay! AYE GIRL! It’s too hot for them tights!”

“It’s so hot out! What is she doing?”

I swear, only in Philadelphia will the homeless community judge your fashion sense in passing. What the feezy?

Couple things..

Why do you care so much about what I’m wearing that you feel the need to yell at me on the street about it, like that will change anything? Don’t you have more pressing questions that should be answered? Like, oh I don’t know, maybe what you and the pet cat you inexplicably have are going to eat tonight? Worry about yourself! You don’t know my life! You don’t know what cold buildings I enter on a daily basis. You don’t know how often I shave my legs. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything.

They irked me. I do not mess with the homeless like that. I have stories. You’re nice and try to give, and it just backfires. I am so done.

One time my uncle and I were leaving a baseball game and walking to the car which we parked outside of the stadium lot. On the way to the car, this man was sitting outside of this fried chicken shop, and he asked us for food. We were willing to help, so naturally we went into the place he was sitting by. We get this guy a meal, bring it out to him, and he starts thanking us, telling us God bless, all that stuff. Then he opened the bag…

“…Chicken? I’M F*CKING SICK OF CHICKEN!”

And he proceeded to chuck the bag of food at us in disgust.

Oh, I’m sorry, homeless guy, that my generosity wasn’t good enough for you. You asked for food and you received food. Not good enough though. My bad. Was I supposed to drive down the road and get you something else? Nevermind the whole, beggars can’t be choosers thing, but you do realize the meaning of the term homeless, right? LIke, if you were so sick of chicken to the point of refusing it, you could just move and sit outside of some place that, y’know, wasn’t a chicken store? You’re not paying mortgage on the sidewalk, get up and leave! But yeah, he just threw the food back at us. And it’s experiences like those that have kept me from making eye contact with people on the street.

Anyway, if you have stories about your interactions with the homeless, I’d love to hear them in the comments.