Updated: Apr 13
Every now and then, I meet people or have conversations with people I already know, who tell me they have a plan.
I'm instantly switched off because I already know what's coming. One of the reasons people like to tell me they have a plan is when they learn about my life. So, before we find out if you're one of these people, lying to yourself, let's see how the way I live my life makes you feel.
I'm a simple person, I've never been one to enjoy cars, fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, or had much of an interest in owning a nice home either. Like most people, I was stuck in the societal norms of life, doing what is expected of us. Work, make the house nice, look forward to annual leave, have children, and get married. Some of that was because when I met my husband, he had young children and they needed stability, so it was only right I move in with him, to his house, to the area he lived, and spent the next few years taking his children on holidays and taking care of them at the weekends.
Naturally, I wanted my own children and that along with marriage came next. But I was never satisfied living this normal life, it was all a means to an end and I knew one day, when my husband's children were old enough, things would be able to change. Before I knew it, that day came. Suddenly, his kids were in their twenties and thirties, getting married and having children of their own. The pandemic hit and spun everything on its head, it gave me a whole new perspective on life and it catapulted me into the existence I really wanted to live in.
I decided life needed to be about living, right here, right now, not one day, this day. We started homeschooling our children, I started L.T. VA Services with the intention of creating a business I could do from anywhere in the world, and as luck would have it, my husband got made redundant so that freed him up too.
We bought a static caravan in a part of the UK we adore, and put our bricks and mortar home on Airbnb and Booking.com. We moved into our caravan with the intention of using it as a base so that we could free up our income and travel the world. That's where we are now, about to start our world travel adventure.
When people hear this story, they go one of two ways. They feel genuinely inspired and wish us nothing but good luck. Or, they go through an instant cycle of self-reflection, feel a tinge of jealousy and compare what they are doing to what we are doing. Then, they tell us about their 'plan'.
Let's take a couple we recently went out to dinner with. They own their own successful business which on paper (as they insist on telling me), is worth around £1 million. They live in a big posh house, drive nice cars, and love designer clothing.
I drive a 10-year-old Renault Megane because I just need something to get me from A to B when I'm in the UK, I only buy from the sale section and I live in a caravan. Now, I'm not judging them by any means, if that lifestyle makes them happy, I applaud it. However, I don't feel the need to compare by telling them about expenses I've made to match up to their way of living. The opposite is true of them though. They tell me about their plan. Their plan is to keep buying properties and to 'flip' them fast in order to make money. Then one day, they will have lots of money, and will...to be honest, nobody ever gets to that part of their plan.
People often stutter about what their end goal is, but basically, it's their way of saying when they get to that point, they are going to enjoy life, and that's when they will travel the world too. I usually push back a little, asking them why not now? Why wait? Clearly, they already have the means, how can they be certain they will have their health or even be alive when that 'one day' comes?
It's at this point the confident insistence of "I have a plan", starts to fade. People either then get defensive, or show their real fears. In this example, the couple was burgled nine years before, and the husband had not left the home for a holiday since then, leaving his wife to take breaks with her sister.
Of course, this isn't always the way these stories go, but the general theme is the same. Most people who say they have a plan are simply masking their fear. Taking giant leaps of faith, living outside of societal norms, and pursuing dreams that might take risks to get there, are all things people want to do, they just allow fear to stand in their way. Instead of admitting this fear, they busy themselves building toward a plan. Basically, a promise to themself that they will do it one day.
With some people, they might genuinely need a plan, they might not have the money to live the life they want to live and they might have a monetary goal to hit before they can embark on their dreams. However, you have to make sure that you recognise when you have hit that goal, not keep going because if you do, you won't ever get there.
I believe in the here and now, on not wasting a second of life. If you have the means or can find the means to live the life you want, which might mean taking chances like selling your home and living life on the road, you should. If you have a 'plan', ask yourself how real it is. Will you really do all the things you say you're going to do once your plan is complete? Will it ever really be complete? Are you lying to yourself and if you are, what are you going to do about it?