Those Best-Laid Plans …

I live in the Land of Best-Laid Plans. As in “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

The saying originated in Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse,” in which he consoles (in strong Scottish dialect) a mouse whose nest he ran over with his plough.

Until I started reading up on the phrase, I didn’t realize its connotation was that the plans in question had gone poorly. I thought it referenced plans that had gone … well … differently. Because isn’t that what plans generally do?

  • I planned to go to Germany and ended up in Japan.
  • I was a biology major in college, and my career has been in writing.
  • I studied to be a journalist — and was a reporter for nearly four years — before getting drafted into public relations, where I spent at least four times as long.

You’ve probably heard this joke: Q: How do you make God laugh? A: Tell Him your plans. Ha ha.

My latest Best-Laid Plan was to offer writing classes online. I’d been thinking and plotting for months and offered my first two four-session courses in January — one privately and one through a Gresham, Oregon, retirement community (thanks to the marvels of Zoom!). I loved it. 

Then came February … and demand for my class slowed. I’m retooling it a bit, and we’ll see what comes in March. (If you’re interested, we’ll begin meeting Tuesday, March 9.)

But here’s the cool thing. Interest emerged in the area of coaching, so I’ve been working one-on-one with people who have stories they want to get on paper. And it turns out I love this too!

Meanwhile, the retirement community asked if I’d teach another course, so I am designing a three-week haiku writing class for March. (You’re invited — more info here.) I can hardly wait!

So, yes, my Best-Laid plans are going astray, but this happens with such regularity, that I actually take it to mean that life is going according to … um … plan.

Here’s to your plans, and to reality!

(originally published in The Same Loon e-newsletter, Feb. 25, 2021)

Featured image gorana b on Unsplash
Koto image by Susan Parrish

2 thoughts on “Those Best-Laid Plans …

  1. I think my biggest flaw is that I don’t have a grand plan that drives me, or even if I do have one, I don’t feel the desire to follow through. So I just focus on living the best day I can, one day at a time. Trawling through your archives as I await your return, Sarah 🙂

  2. There’s so much to say for staying in the moment, being present to emerging opportunities — isn’t it better than getting stalled out in some grand plan that might not fit anymore? So I’m not convinced the lack of a grand plan is, as you say, a flaw.

    (Although given my tendencies, I might not be the best judge of that! 😉 )

    Thank you for “trawling through,” Stuart, and for your encouragement! I appreciate it.

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