Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Planning to spend and save; time and money

I'm writing the bulk of this post Sunday night, after the end of my weekly internet sabbath, although I'll tweak this post a bit on Monday and Tuesday before I hit the "publish" button on Tuesday morning.

The internet sabbath day is one that reminds me of all the non-e-things around me, a reminder I find I need regularly.  Probably because of the lack of e-distractions and i-distractions, late Sunday is a good time to plan, too. I get to make lists, and I love making lists.  For some reason, this week I've been struck by the distinction of planning for things where the planning is what makes things those things happen (on the one hand), and planning for things that are going to happen anyway (on the other hand).

Is that confusing?  Maybe some simple examples are in order.  The triathalon I'm hoping to do in the summer of 2015 is -- in some very important ways -- a sheer invention on my part.  It didn't exist in my world even a month ago.  It doesn't actually have to exist in the future . . . but I am trying, through planning and will-power and whatever-else-it-takes to make it happen.  I've bought a bike (the Sudden Painful Death Machine).  I've started thinking about training.*   In fact, part of my Sunday sabbath this week has been planning for what kind of training I'm going to want to do in the year(s) ahead.  It's the Future Wishful Tense of planning.  It's the planning itself that is going to make the triathalon a reality (or not).  It's an arrow I've shot into the future.
* Part of finding the time to train, as I wrote before, will be letting go of this blog.  Today's is my 442nd post; at 450 I'm going to stop blogging and turn into a hyper-obsessed athlete, or so I tell myself.
I'd put our special Family Dinners in the same category of invention-planning:  the Valentines Dinner, the Zoo Dinner, the Money Dinner, the Siete-de-Mayo Dinner, the Pirate Dinner, the Halloween Dinner -- they're all creations sprung from my head  some time last December, planned out so that they'd become reality during the year.  And -- to be a bit more serious -- retirement is definitely in the same category.  If you don't think about it, imagine it, plan for it -- if instead you just do whatever's in front of you -- then retirement just isn't going to happen.  Planning for a wished-for future is an important part of my life.

But most of my Sunday sabbath planning is in a different category.  It's the planning of anticipating certain-to-occur needs, needs that will come smack me in the face whether I plan for them or not.
  • Will the boys need more meds soon?  If so, call the doc on Monday and get the next prescription before we run out.  
  • What does the week's dinner situation look like?  Figure out when to pull things from the freezer and when to soak beans, so I don't spend extra time defrosting things.  
  • Are there big deadlines coming up?   Plan some time in the week to work on these projects so I'm not late, or (God willing) not even rushed.  
The first kind of planning is figuring out how to spend time (or money).  The second kind of planning is figuring out how to save time (or money).

And I love them both.  For example, as I turned the page in my daily planner and found my annual Thanksgiving shopping list just sitting there waiting for me, I gave myself a little high-five/gold-star for having organized my butt off several years ago.  Now that I have a list I carry over from year-to-year, the brain-power I would have spent getting ready to shop for this annual dinner is available for use for bigger purposes, like for designing a bike rack that can accommodate the SPDM and all my husband's and kids' bikes, too.  By Tuesday, I'll start following my annual Thanksgiving meal recipe (as much as I ever follow a recipe).  Again, an hour of advance planning several years ago, combined with a few minutes' combing through the cupboards, freezer, and calendar, mean that I'm feeling confident and relaxed about the cooking extravaganza to come.

And all of this reminds me that a day of rest -- a day of removing myself from the immediate concerns of the present -- brings with it a special gift.  It's the gift that reminds me, every week, that I'm able to look just a bit into the future, to prepare for that future, even to help shape that future.  (It's why the Big Guy declared the sabbath "holy": there's a really big future out there to think of, He says.)

A while back I wrote this to end a post, and I think I was pretty funny, but accurate:
Calendars aren't classy. Schedules aren't sexy. Lists seldom inspire lust (unless they're in my husband's lap). But I couldn't live the good life without them.

1 comment:

  1. I'll miss your posts when you end to publish them...
    (although I have a lot of them from the past to review).