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Spur of the Moment

Last night I was in the Las Vegas airport, waiting for boarding to start on my flight. I went there an hour early because I didn't have time to play poker, so I figured I could get on wifi and get some work done. I knocked out a couple small SETT bugs, and then remembered about getgoing.com, the YC-backed discount flight site. The way it works is you pick two deeply discounted flights that you'd be willing to take, put in your credit card, and getgoing picks one for you. You don't know where you're going until after you've paid. When I first got invited to the site I mucked around with it and found some really great fares to both Beijing and Shanghai.

Maybe I should go to China, I thought. Twenty minutes later my flight to Shanghai was booked.

I like making impulsive decisions like this. My past is filled with them, and none that I can think of have ended in regret. Actually, if I were asked what I thought my biggest strength is, I would probably say that it is making good decisions very quickly.

I wasn't always good at making quick decisions. Twelve years ago I had the opportunity to fly on the Concorde for $1000. It was usually over $10,000 round trip. I really wanted to do it, so I called a few friends to see if anyone else was interested. There was some hemming and hawing, but no one was ready to commit. Well, I thought, I'll wait until tomorrow and buy a ticket then if I still want to go. The next day came and the deal was gone. Now the Concorde is decommissioned and I'll never have the chance to ride it. Strange is it sounds, this is probably one of the bigger regrets in my life. I really wish I got to ride the Concorde before it folded.

Mindfulness and Plans

On Kelby Barker

We are planning creatures. We plan our weekends, vacations, and lives to a greater or lesser extent. Some of us pick out every detail and polish perfectly while others are on a plan that involves not having any plan. We build our time so that we can get the most out of it. On weekends we structure our time that we might do what we want to do and get done what must get done. On vacation we plan to see new things and plan relaxing activities. For life, we plan where we will be in five years, ten years, etc.

"The plan" has been one of the biggest things in my life. As a young person I feel that everyone really wants to know what your plan is. Where are you considering going to school? What are you studying? What do you want to do with that? What do you want to do with your life?

These are all big questions and it sounds quite nice to have big answers. Yet, for all of our planning nothing is more certain than the fact that something will go wrong. There is an issue in planning inherent to the fact that things are ever changing. I had the firmest of plans to go to law school after I graduated from college, but I didn't anticipate an intense feeling of burn out. I had a plan all lined up and everything that I did was able to be tied back to the plan.

I had my eyes on the prize yet I, as many do even with plans of lesser severity, got tunnel visioned. Frankly, I had tried too hard and ignored my limits. Like a guy in a bar defiantly having a good time I went past my limits without even realizing it and found myself sitting, wondering why things just wouldn't fit with the plan. Yet the thinking in that is backward. Life will never fit your plans. Plans can, however fit life. Life is in constant flux and so too should be our plans.

I had a friend in college who got a lot of guff for being a planner. She would thoroughly plan her weekend, picking out the interesting stuff to do around town and building a group with whom to do it. When it came time for the festivities she lead the charge, but sometimes the charge did not happen. People would flake, things would change, and plans would fall through but that was not a problem.

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