Planning and Flying

Have you ever watched a child craft? I’m not talking about a guided, grown-up assisted crafting session. I’m talking about a get-out-all-the-glue-sticks, spare-no-feathers, bring-on-the-googly-eyes affair. Let them sit down at a table with dozens of options and watched the sparks fly (figuratively, please!) while they decide exactly what they can do with all this stuff?

It’s exhilarating if you can, for just a moment, step back from your grown-up self who sees the glitter on the floor and the paint oozing out on the table, and who is already mentally getting out the vacuum cleaner.

Their world is nothing but possibility.

Planners and Flyers

On the rare occasions I allow this sort of thing to happen in my home, I have seen one way in which my scalawags are incredibly different. One is a planner. He looks at all the materials, and then starts think-talking his way through his project. The other is a flyer (as in fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants). He grabs the first thing to catch his eye and he starts using it.

The Planner tends to take very great care of his work from beginning to end, putting it outside to dry or on a counter to show off when his indulgent father gets home. The Flyer is more about the creating than the actual finished product. He can easily crush up something he made, not out of frustration, but simply because he is finished with the experience.

When you were a child, were you a Planner or a Flyer? Were you diligent, careful and studied, or did you just jump in with both feet and make a mess?

The world needs both. The world needs thinkers and doers. Planners and Flyers.

But here’s what I want you to consider as you start to imagine your Ideal Life and how you want to be remembered by the people who love you: Living your Ideal Life requires that you be both Planner and Flyer.

The Craft Table

I’m all over the place with my metaphors on this subject: last week your Ideal Life was a puzzle to put together. Today it is a craft table. Whatever. You get it. Your Ideal Life is something that you must assemble.

How old are you? I’m going to be 44 in a few days. I’m no spring chicken, but I feel kinda young in my heart. You might 70. Or 30. Doesn’t matter. The point is this: we have already lived some life. We have some bad habits. We have had some disappointments. We have made some ugly mistakes. We also have some talents. We have some wisdom. We have some expertise. We have relationships. We have some dreams, too.

All those things are spread out on the craft table in front of you. What are you going to make with them?

Your Challenge

The challenge is this: you are going to be designing the plane and flying it at the same time. We can’t just take a year out of life to plan our Ideal Life and then start implementing our plan.

We can, however, little by little, start imagining what we want said about us when we aren’t here anymore, and start, little by little, living in such a way as that this becomes reality every day more.

We need a plan. We need to make our In my Ideal Life I am a person who… statements. We need to pan those statements for gold, looking for the themes that make up our Ideal Life. We need to know what we want said about us when we are gone, so that we can start intentionally living that way.

But once we have something that looks like a plan, we need to start flying. Quickly. We need to start making tiny bits of progress, each day, by checking where we are against our ideal. We need to do things that might feel unpleasant or unfamiliar, but nonetheless things that will get us closer to our dreams.

We need to plan and we need to fly.

Making time to plan

My husband is a regular guest on an interview show, in the quality of “philosopher”. The question that was going to be discussed on the show this particular Friday was something to the effect of, “Why do we never have enough time?”

He got all philosophical with me, about perception, blah blah blah. I said it is about priorities. We don’t have enough time because we don’t know what we really want.

This, some of you may know, is a hill I am willing to die on. This question of “not having enough time” is not a valid excuse for avoiding doing the heavy lifting of pursuing our Ideal Life. Do I feel like Sisyphus when my alarm goes off at 4:00AM? Why yes, yes I do. But every day seeing how I am making progress towards a life that I want to live and towards a life that my children and husband will be proud of is absolutely worth the discomfort.

Planning and flying. Planning and flying. Planning and flying. Every. Single. Day.

Up next:

We are going to return to the question, “In my Ideal Life, I am a person who…” and see what some of you are out there saying (all anonymity preserved, of course! PS I am such a fan of emails and DMs with your Ideal Life statements! Keep them coming!!!!!!! or on Insta or Facebook!)

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

4 thoughts on “Planning and Flying

  1. Hi Lily When I was a child I brought flowers into my room in any container possible. I loved them very much. I have returned to this in my blog and it is bringing joy and childlike wonder back into my life. That is why I liked your Sparkle approach ! Lovely of you to share.

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  2. I’m an all out messy flyer!! I love to craft! And if I make a mistake, oopsy, hopefully it’ll clean up! My 2 granddaughters are the same way, as the nail polish on our dining table will attest!! lol


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