Planning and patience
Dec. 22, 2011
By Karen Wyman
How many of you know exactly what you’re doing this weekend? Next weekend? Ten weekends from now?
I didn’t think so. Neither do I, yet I had to submit my 2012 vacation and time off requests for work last week. Planning this took several calls, e-mails and texts to daycare, family, sitters, friends, hotels, airlines, etc. I had to tentatively plan the girls’ birthday party to make sure I was off a weekend near the actual date, even calling a few special friends to check that this weekend seven months from now is still open for them. I coordinated in- laws visiting from across the country. I prearranged a year’s worth of holiday celebrations. I scheduled our anniversary plans (FYI hubby: we have dinner reservations and a babysitter!). I essentially stressed out anyone and everyone close to me. My best friend now knows when I will be available to attend her 40th birthday party, my family knows who is hosting what holiday, and they all have their allotted time slots to visit us. Sounds crazy, but unfortunately, it’s necessary.
Now, I am a planner, but I’m not psychic. I can’t accurately anticipate an entire year of activities. Surprisingly, having to plan so far in advance still leaves little room for rescheduling due to illness or any other of the many wrenches that can be thrown into the best-laid plans.
Planning ahead seems to be a necessity in most aspects of life these days. There are waiting lists for everything — from preschool to the newest hot DVD release or gaming console. We line up for new cell phones and computer tablets. While I remember one incident of standing in line outside of Ames with my mom early on a Saturday morning to await a shipment of Cabbage Patch Kids, I don’t feel like there was such a high demand for things. People weren’t camping out Thanksgiving night to be the first to obtain a deal; they were at home enjoying time with their families.
In this culture of mass production, mass merchandisers and Internet shopping, why do we act like we are awaiting a life-saving ration of food? If it isn’t supply and demand at work here, what could it be? Could it be greed (we have to be the first to obtain the latest and greatest)? Maybe it’s satisfaction (do we have so many possessions now that we are just never satisfied?) Or, have manufacturers created this problem by constantly producing a “new and improved model” — making previous but still recent versions obsolete?
If you’ve ever planned a wedding you are well aware of this ticking timetable syndrome. Reception sites, caterers, florists and other vendors are booked years in advance. I have had some friends reserve certain services before even being engaged! I’m sure many of you have experienced trying to book a doctor’s appointment — or better yet a specialist such as a dermatologist appointment — and being told they are booking six months out. It seems in today’s world, we are either hurrying up and waiting for something or procrastinating and missing out.
On the other hand, mapping out my family’s schedule for a year seems like child’s play compared to planning out our entire financial future: saving for college, two weddings (we are already telling the girls Vegas chapels are highly underrated) and, of course, retirement! I am also afraid that I may need to already be on a nursing home waiting list.
I have always prided myself on my time management skills, but this world needs to slow down just a little bit. I do know that if anyone would like to do lunch, I am free Feb. 11, 2013 between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., unless of course, my name comes up on the wait list for a dental cleaning.
Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for six years, and lives with her husband and twin 4-year-old daughters.