The 5 year plan

I should be packing right now. On Saturday we’re saying goodbye to this apartment and moving to our new home. The one we bought.

When we got serious and planned to put an offer on this place, I started thinking about the five years I’ve lived in this apartment, and what I thought my life might look like when I first moved in.

My friend and I saw this place and loved it despite its hideous chocolate brown and orange walls, purple glossy ceilings in the bathroom, and a few other awful paint decisions. When the landlord asked us if we’d be willing to sign a two year lease (which is unusual), we considered our life and both thought, “Well, I can’t see why not.” As far as we were concerned, our lives were going to continue as they were. Neither of us were dating or seemed to have any prospects and I was planning to stay in Montreal for a long time. Nakita and I moved in on the classic moving day in Montreal, July 1.

jess-nakita

Nakita and I (in green) are with a friend in our apartment.

I think it was a month after we signed our lease Nakita got her first phone call from her now husband. By December they were engaged and by April they were married. Willy and I started dating October of the year she and I moved in here. By January we were engaged.

This was the apartment we Skyped in when he lived in Quebec City. This was the apartment where he brought me flowers for the first time. It was where I got ready for our wedding, and the apartment we came back to live as husband and wife (the two year lease, remember?).

It more recently became the apartment where I grew a human in my belly and that tiny human learned to eat and sleep through the night.

If you had asked me five years ago what I imagined my life to be like, I probably would have said, “Maybe I’ll be married.” I would have never imagined being married, a mom, and moving in to a great apartment that we own.

Which leads me to OUR five year plan – Willy’s and mine. When we were first married, somehow we thought in five years time Willy might start seminary and we hoped to buy a house and maybe have a kid. but in our mind all of  these things would happen around the same time. Imagine: having a newborn, moving, and Willy starting school??? That was a foolish and crazy plan.

But we didn’t realize this until various things got turned on their head, and life twisted and lurched into a different direction. Willy started his Masters only a year after we were married. It took longer to get pregnant than we wanted. And when we started really saving for a house that was two to three years away, our circumstances dramatically changed thanks to generous parents and a house became imminent. Our five year plan was somehow accomplished in a different order in four years. And while that sounds like wonderful good fortune (it is), the road was not at all what we imagined and much more tumultuous than we had expected. But it turned out far more lovely than we would have planned.

marguerite-wedding

Getting ready for our wedding in my apartment. Photos by Chelms

The Pinnacle

Yesterday I think I had the best saturday of my life. Let me give you a run down of what happened:

  • I “woke up” early with Willy’s alarm (6:45) and got out of bed shortly after
  • I read a Psalm
  • I was at the grocery store by 9am
  • I came back, helped tidy the kitchen, prepped lunch
  • I started a load of laundry
  • (Accidentally?) Cleaned the bathroom
  • Ate lunch
  • Evaluated the status of how on-top of our Picture a Week project we are
  • Headed off to a baby shower
  • Came back, baked bread for spelt hamburger buns
  • Made one of W’s favourite meals: Chicken Piquant
  • Cleaned up, read some of Anne of Avonlea, and headed off to a movie with W.

If you don’t immediately understand why this was so great, let me help you understand.

I did laundry, cleaned the bathroom and groceries ALL IN THE SAME DAY. I do not really like groceries or cleaning and laundry can feel like a nuisance. Often when I spend my Saturdays on these activities it feels like it’s all I’ve done and I’m annoyed that I didn’t get to relax or do nice things that I like (I know… this will be parenthood and the rest of my life, right?)

I did some hobby-type things instead of watching more Netflix. I filled 20 minutes here and there with reading, keeping on top of our annual scrapbook and baking.

I was selectively social and left before I had had too much. I love this term because it describes how I feel after a week filled with people. I will always been an extravert, but sometimes I need  time with certain people or anybody but certain people. It was an enjoyable afternoon celebrating the baby of a friend a few weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy.

I made good food for the man I love. I listened to CBC Radio 2 and made a heart-warming supper. I forgot how I do like to cook when I feel confident about what I’m doing and I’m not stressed for time. It felt good.

Unplanned

I think part of what made this day the best was that I had some key things in place that I needed to do but I hadn’t planned out my day to the point that it felt stressful. They were all executed at a leisurely pace and wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t do them. But the most important thing was getting up early so I felt I had time to do everything without feeling like everything was rushed and terrible.

I’m writing this out mostly because I will always need a reminder of

  1. why getting up early is good, and;
  2. why staying on top of things like groceries, laundry and cleaning will always feel better when it’s done.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before – how I have selective memory. I forget that things I don’t like to do actually feel good when it’s done. It’s like playing certain boardgames with people. I will NEVER want to. But I’ve learned that if I agree despite my zero interest or desire, I may actually still have fun and enjoy my time.

I said to W at supper, “I think I have reached the peak of my life today, and I will never have this perfect a Saturday ever again. I think I’m ok with that, because at least I know it happened.”

Kind of sad, but I’m anticipating my life to be totally upside down once baby comes. Part of me wants to try to make Saturdays like this (flexibly?) regimented and habitual. The other part of me is afraid that if I try to do that I will add all kinds of pressure and expectation and it will culminate in epic failure and disappointment.

This day reminds me that I do need more order and structure in my life to help me manage everything, and I’m still trying to figure out how to do that as painlessly as possible.

Mistakes in Overthinking Productivity

Now that the long weekend is over and you may be trying to get back into the groove of things after some time off, here are some great tips from TimeManagementNinja: 7 Mistakes You’re Making By Overthinking Your Productivity.

  1. Having Too Many Tools
  2. Waiting for the Perfect Time
  3. Overplanning
  4. Thinking There is Only One Way
  5. Creating Too Complex of a System
  6. Not Making Decisions
  7. Not Starting

Read the rest of the article on his blog to see the details.

Body Break!

bodybreakWow, I’m seriously, seriously loving The Power of Habit. It’s giving me huge insight into how I can develop the lifestyle I want that will help me reach a bunch of these goals. I’ll post about some of these things later, but one of the things it talked about was how people who are successful in changing lifestyles (recovering alcoholics, people doing physical rehab) are often more successful than their peers because they have a plan for their day/situation/year or whatever. This means that they have an exit strategy or they have mentally rehearsed what to do if a craving arises, or if stress gets piled on (in the case of the alcoholic) or for the physical rehabilitation patient they have a plan for what to do when pain arises that they just need to push through.

I’m pretty sure this the reason why I’m not super bummed right now about my lack of ‘training’ for my 5k at the end of April. This was more or less a part of the plan. Winter run if possible, if not figure something out. I’m definitely figuring something out. I’ve been doing some morning exercises from a DVD at home but I’m taking small steps towards swimming a few times a week in the neighbourhood pool a few blocks from my place.

An example

The other day it was bitter cold out. I had two main goals for the evening: get groceries and buy a bathing suit. It took me all day to psych myself up to drive the 10 minutes to Wal-mart Super Centre where I could buy a bathing suit and groceries at the same time. I’m not exactly at my height of motivation, these days. I almost convinced myself not to step out into the cold and that anyone would understand why I wouldn’t want to go. I did go. I survived and I bought a non-fancy bathing suit. I was one step closer to regular swimming. It turns out the suit didn’t fit me in the end. Wop wop. But at least I tried, right?

Little wins, people. 

Now I need to go back to Wal-Mart and I’m so much more motivated to exchange that suit and get one that fits me and hit the pool. I also have a plan. Thursday evening I had planned to go to the pool for a first swim but then I found out my suit didn’t fit. Instead of being bummed that I couldn’t go (but was also pretty uninterested in leaving the house due to icky temperatures) I made a plan to ensure success: I’d buy a combo lock, I’d visit the pool during free swim time today and figure out how the place actually works. That means that after work when I’m planning to go swim, I’ll already know the drill and I can just do it.

It’s kind of embarrassing how easily I can get bummed about something and then give up altogether. In this case, I’m determined enough to anticipate problems and pre-determine solutions so that I can reach my goal.

Guys, I’m kind of excited to flail around in a pool a few times a week! What’s up with that?

What about you? Do you try to plan in order to set yourself up for success? Or does winning not matter much to you? Click here to leave a comment.

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