Friday, August 18, 2017

What Are Your Plans?

I was planning on grad school.

Eventually, I’d re-enroll and finish up my Master’s degree.

My resume says I have a M.S. in Communications, but that’s not exactly true. I bailed with one semester left  — choosing my budding career as a Junior Copywriter over 3-hour weekly Comm. Theory labs. But honestly, I always planned on going back and knocking it out. I’ve gotten far enough without it, but it’s an integrity thing, you know?

I was planning on staying in New Orleans for just a little longer.

I had one foot out the door, but I didn’t really have anywhere to go.

My role as a Senior Copywriter was fine, I guess. I advanced relatively quickly, but after that first promotion, it felt like years before the next one would come along. Still, I could’ve hung on for a bit before moving onto elsewhere else, which happened all of sudden, pulling my complacent life out from under me. My future was a dead end, but thankfully, it didn’t extend beyond summer 2017.

I was planning on moving to Europe.

This wasn’t really a plan, so much as a vague, paper-thin aspiration. But still, it was an option.

Writers can live anywhere, right? I imagined saving enough cash to hold me over for a few months and then taking my bullshit across the Atlantic — writing website copy for American companies while sipping espresso [which I hate] and taking a shine to infinity scarves [please don’t make me]. Paris is cliché, but it was my first choice. I know I’d feel isolated in Dublin. And Italy feels more like New Orleans than France. So maybe I’d backpack around for a bit before finding something I liked. Then I’d return to the states and create a six-month plan for my new life abroad. It was lofty, but it could’ve worked.

I thought about starting a business.

Like a real business.

I’ve got my copywriter sidehustle now, but I planned on taking it off the ground into a full-blown agency. Being my boss wasn’t [isn’t?] important to me, but I like the idea of kicking ass on my own terms. Plus, I’ve already got the logo and letterhead. Can’t let that go to waste.

What about my life as a mixed media artist?

I could always abandon writing altogether, and return to my first true love: making art.

Maybe I’d have enough cash in a decade or so to jumpstart my career. Oil. Watercolor. Black and white charcoal on craft paper. Meeting my friends for happy hour with pastel wedged underneath my fingernails. Wearing acrylic stains like badges of honor.

But if that didn’t work out, I still had my body of work.

I imagined myself at 30, with my vibrant, extensive portfolio and the world at my fingertips.

I saw myself at 40, owning one or two things of value. A Creative Director with a mortgage. Pets? Probably not. I’m allergic to cats and dogs. Some people might hear this and think, bummer. But I don’t really know what I’m missing.

At 50?

I never considered what my life might be at 50.

After 50? Not a clue.

No plans.

I saw the fabric of my life fraying out at the edges and then creating new patterns in every direction spreading out across oceans and along parallel paths of time. No endpoint in sight, but definitely plans. Plan A. Plan B. Back-up plans. Tertiary plans. Worst case scenarios.

At 28, I had no tethers. No anchors. Infinite options.

No one but me.

And then there was you.

And then there was you and me.

And then us.

My plans?

Hopefully, I spend hours, upon hours, upon hours listening to music with you.

Hopefully, I have to learn to cook the things you like. I know you’ve got the palette of a fifth grader, but I still want to make the best chicken tenders you’ve ever eaten.

Hopefully, I’m forced to make small talk with your parents. But just so we’re clear, they’re wonderful parents and every moment spent discussing our shared love of Lafayette, Gretna, or Buc-ee’s is time well spent.

Hopefully, my future is a series of conversations, and pictures, and pockets of time where everything stops because I haven’t seen you in weeks, so I savor the smell of your skin in baggage claim.

Hopefully, the days ahead are spent compromising dinner spots, and picking out furniture, and discussing real estate.

Hopefully, my plans are making a family with you. Whether that means just the two of us or more, I want to create a family worthy of our individual upbringings.

Hopefully, I can wrap this up soon and we can talk.

Hopefully, you’ll leave the gym in a few minutes and I can tell you that I love waking up to a slew of texts from you. Then morning FaceTime in bed. Then morning phone brief in transit. Then constant Snaps, Insta DMs, texts, and mid-day phone check-ins. Then afternoon phone debrief in transit. Then evening affirmations. Then nighttime FaceTime in bed.

Hopefully, you’re the only plans I have for the rest of my life.

In just a few minutes, I’m going to call you.

And let you know that I’ve got a plan.

Come with me.

Let’s go somewhere.