Confessions of a little planner 

capricornIn writing the last few posts, I’ve realised I either come across as a completely lost twenty-something crying out for guidance, or someone who’s so spontaneous and go-with-the-flow that plans don’t even come into it.

Well, neither is true (much). While guidance would be lovely (still convinced you lot are all going to secret ‘how to be an adult’ lessons behind my back), I’ve always kind of fallen into things and fate has mostly served me well; so I’m not so much lost as I am trusting that things will be fine. Repeat to self: THINGS WILL BE FINE. But hell no, I am not spontaneous in the slightest.

But I am somewhere in between; I’m a little planner. I might not know what’s going on in five years’ time (or even five weeks) but when something comes around, I will make mini plans and have the details down.

Want to meet up on the same day that you ask me? I will work out whether I’m dressed for the part, what makeup I can top up on at the office and what it means for meal times (double Pret lunch, anyone?). I will plot my journey home and know whether it’s a last tube or Kabbee situation; I will know whether I have hangover-friendly food in the fridge (because my nights out always involve wine) and whether I need to go to Tesco on the way back. I’ll do the wine maths depending on what I have to do the next day (1 bottle + food = upper limit if awake before 12. Multiply by 2 if + soda water). Sound mad yet? I can’t help it, I’m a Capricorn. I’m organised.

That said, I am learning that the best nights come from the unexpected. Overplan anything and it’s guaranteed to fail (ever planned a birthday night out that’s completely flopped?), whereas when you do something with no expectations of where it might lead, you might end up laughing your head off in a London tuk-tuk on the way to Subway with one of your best friends, singing the Jurassic World theme tune on a night bus and spending the next day reliving the funniest night you’ve had in ages (thanks G). I’ll never lose my microplans, if I may make up that word and call them that, but I think they’re a little like rules – there to be broken.

 

Image from capricornzodiacsign.net

In praise of Pret

 

Pret logoWhen it comes to food, I haven’t yet become my mother in planning ahead. She’ll know on Sunday morning what’s for dinner next Sunday while I’m still trying to decide what to have for breakfast.

So when it comes to lunches at work, I tend to end up in Pret. And frankly, I am not ashamed. I mean, I probably shouldn’t spend between £5 and £10 a day on fancy sandwiches. But they’re just. So. Good.

Moreover, they’re healthier. Aside from the Daily Mail headlines of calorie counting, would I be eating kale, quinoa and fresh edamame without them? Of course I bloody wouldn’t. I don’t even know if Sainsbury’s in Wood Green stocks such things. Would I eat a colourful salad packed with protein and feta and a ridiculously good dressing? No, I would probably be eating a dull as dishwater ham sandwich or a bowl of nutrition-less pasta.

Separately, the main reason I don’t make my own is a phobia of Tupperware. School packed lunches were difficult – my mum had to stop trying to give me sandwiches and offer me things that would stay fresh in foil or that came ready-wrapped. Those stuffy, smelly plastic boxes that make your sarnies sweat and your salad look limp and messy are not for me. I’ve really tried, even buying colourful ones that look fresh and new, but I can’t bring myself to fill it with food, carry it on my 45 minute journey to work on a sticky tube, then have to eat it a few hours later. Yuck. How do you people do it?

So yes, I’ve pretty much been eating what could be my savings for years. But at least I know I’ve got a good lunch, right?

The rise of the secret planners: are you ready for your friend to have a boyfriend?

Bridget Jones

 

Imagine you’re single, and actually it’s not so bad as you’ve got some single friends, and you all laugh and joke about the difficulties of being single and dating and oh aren’t those smug marrieds with their patronising head tilts the absolute worst?

But then one meets a man. That’s ok, there’ll be some fun dating stories coming soon. Right? Oh. She likes this one. Oh, they’re going away for the weekend. Erm, is she ignoring me? Why has she not asked me how I am in about three months? What happened three mo… OH. He happened.

This has happened to me (or did it just happen? Not sure I can say it happened ‘to me’ as it’s never intentional, one hopes) more times than I can count. And you know what’s scary about the people that do this? They’re not planners. They’re SECRET planners. They talk the talk of a non-planner, they agree with you on the silliness and unexpected way of life and ooooh, isn’t it fun to be a clueless twenty-something; but behind the scenes, like a little duck doing all the work under the murky water, they’re actually making plans. And then a plan comes together and bingo, suddenly they’re one of those people with a plan. Who knew?

I’ve been burned before when my fellow Bridget-Jonesers have suddenly discovered Man and started using the B word and then forgotten I exist, so when it happens again I panic. You know how in Friends (there’ll be a lot of Friends references on this blog, btw) Chandler FREAKS OUT when Gary wants to move in with Phoebe? “Right, because it’s fast. Because, it’s so fast. It’s fast!” and Monica has to point out that it’s not him that’s got to do it, it’s Phoebe? Yeah, well never mind if she’s ready. What if YOU’RE not ready?

Of course, it’s not just when it comes to men. There are the people who live in a flatshare just like you and then all of a sudden, bang, they’re putting deposits down on houses; there are the colleagues you think you’ll work with for years but then, bang, they’ve quit and are off to find themselves in Thailand or wherever people do that these days. Bang, bang, bang, off go the non-planners to join the people who know how to get shit done, and leaving you right where you always are.

This is a thing with never planning for the future. You kind of realise that others are, even if they don’t seem to be, and that eventually, they all go off in hunt of their grand goals. I’m not playing a little violin here (much) but it can be crap to feel like you’re constantly left behind by people who seem to just go out there and get what they want.

I’m happy for all of them – I’m just not so sure where I fit in when I’m not a part of their plan anymore. Because, and I know this goes against everything the irritating Instagram posts say about living for yourself and making it all about YOU and learning to be selfish, but: what am I doing with my life, if I’m not doing it with them?

And so that is why I’ll never be a secret planner – because I like my attempts at plotting to involve the people around me, and I factor everything or everyone in before making a decision (which is why sometimes it takes me months to make one). And in my experience, it’s the plans with other people that lead to the best bits in life. So no head tilts for me; I’m just doing things a different way.

10 things you only know if you’re not a planner

Help me I'm poor

 

  1. Your diary is full and your next free weekend is in four months but you didn’t plan a single thing that’s in there yourself
  2. Everyone’s getting mortgages or getting a deposit and you’re spending all your money in Pret while renting an overpriced shithole
  3. You said you’d start getting fit at the same time as your unfit friend but so far you’ve been to the gym twice while your friend is running half marathons
  4. When people ask you what you want, your thought process is ‘I don’t know! Ooooh, it could be anything. So many options! What do you want? Maybe I will want it too!’
  5. Actually having to plan ahead for something ever is fucking terrifying
  6. Your friends will casually throw pensions into a conversation and you picture yourself hunched over a desk with a zimmer aged 89 because no one told you that’s a thing you do
  7. When your parents ask anything whatsoever related to your future your response is always a non-committal teenager-style shrug, because who knows?
  8. You’re kind of OK with the fact you might not ever get married because how do all these people know how to plan a wedding? Did you miss a class in school?
  9. You’re secretly terrified that all your female friends got a memo about freezing eggs/ensuring they have babies by a certain point and you will die alone because you trusted fate and you’re an idiot. Too far?
  10. You’ve no idea where the last ten years of your life went

Non-planners, what did I miss?

 

Jurassic World was a bit sexist. But it wasn’t because of the heels

Jurassic World

Source: jurassicworldmovie.com

At the weekend, in which I really did have nothing planned, a spontaneous night out turned into a sleepover, which turned into a duvet day, which turned into a quick evening with friends at the cinema to see Jurassic World. See how not having plans can help sometimes? TAKE THAT, PLANNERS.

Anyway, back to the film. It has been the longest time coming (is it really 22 years since the original? I don’t see how that’s possible) and oh my, was it worth the wait. So much so that it’s prompted a quick post from me, the Worst Blogger In The World. In fact, don’t even call me a blogger. I haven’t earned it. But anyway, I digress…

It wasn’t only Chris Pratt that made it brilliant (pause for the delicious memories). I loved that, much like that iconic door handle moment in the first, the excitement lay in the premise that dinosaurs are pretty intelligent. Aside from a few dodgy bits of script (‘Now she’s killing for sport’ – bit much to deduce from a few dead dinos, no?) it had it all and didn’t disappoint in the way that we were all scared it could have. The nods to the original, too, made it – who could forget those cars, that fallen banner – and it was great to see B.D Wong return as Dr Henry Wu, the man who technically started it all (aside from Hammond, of course).

The sexist thing? Yes, I get why it caused such a storm. Aside from getting very annoyed at her running in high heels (that just is not sensible – I would have loved it more if she’d thrown them into the waterfall, because BE PRACTICAL your life is at stake here), I disliked the way she was portrayed as a total bitch just because she wasn’t taking the day off from her pretty important, successful job in order to show her nephews around the park.

Did her sister honestly expect her to just be free and at their beck and call to show them around? Is she a cow because she cares about her job and her responsibility of working there? She of course becomes maternal in the end (still in her heels) promising never to leave them (though I loved how she swiftly walked off with her hot man the minute the sister arrived), while her assistant, another glam and non-child-friendly woman got eaten by not one but two dinosaurs at once. Harsh.

Despite that, it’s definitely one for the ladies, perhaps more so than the previous instalments, and of course that’s down to Chris Pratt. Who is this man? Where has he come from? Here he is in all his gorgeous splendour and I’ve only just learned his name. Yes, unlike the previous films we have some male eye candy (the idiot in the third doesn’t count) while the men, of course, have the gorgeous redhead in heels to look at. Win-win.

Oh yeah, and the dinosaurs are awesome too. Check this feature on the Telegraph out for a great interview with the man who originally made them happen.