On Planning

Yesterday, I saw the Korean thriller Parasite. There's a lot I could write about the film (definitely see it if you can) but one line in particular must've lodged deep in my brain, because it popped up when I was thinking about what I should write today.

Without risking any plot spoilers, the line comes at a point in the film when the father and son who act as two of the film's main protagonists are lying together after a particular disastrous day. As they attempt to digest everything that has happened to them in the past 24 hours, the dad turns to his son and says:

"You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned...You can't go wrong with no plans."

In the context of the plot, the line reflects a nihilistic moment of despair. Out of context, it's a pretty timely piece of wisdom. 

As we enter the final month of the year (and the decade, just in case the internet let you forget!), there's a rising pressure to start making all sorts of plans for 2020. Naturally, I'm making some myself. But I'm also trying to orient my tangible goals around intangible markers of wellbeing, fulfillment, and intellectual and personal growth – as opposed to the strict metrics of achievement that I might've opted for before.

There's a subtle boundary between surrender and apathy, and I try to stay vigilant not to cross it. But I also know that, regardless of what I might've accomplished at times when I was resolutely determined that everything in my life needed to go 'to plan', I was a much less happy (less creative, less efficient) person for it. As the countdown to 2020 accelerates, I'm trying to think ahead in a way that honours what I've learnt in the past decade but also stays as open as possible to everything that might happen in the next: Good, bad, and totally unanticipated. 

A flawless plan, or a flagrant one? Who knows? Certainly not me. All I can promise is that I'll be keeping you posted.