I’m in slight panic mode right now.
It’s the night before Ben and I are supposed to fly to Europe for an anniversary getaway and we have approximately:
0 airplane tickets
0 hotel reservations
This goes against every FIBER of my over-planning, need-to-know-what’s happening being.
I like to think I’m the spontaneous type but when I’m being real with myself I know that’s a big fat lie. I’m such a planner…and what’s more than that, I love security, stability and KNOWING what my next steps are. I’ve been known to start a new chapter of my life (like moving to D.C. with my husband for his job) and immediately start daydreaming about what’s coming next before boxes are even unpacked.
This highly unplanned trip is a forced exercise in letting go of control, living in the moment and embracing the unknown.
Because I grew up in Europe I get frequent urges to jump back across the pond. Not for any particular reason. Sometimes it’s simply just because I miss real French croissants and pain au chocolat to be honest 🙂 Because of Ben’s job we have access to free flights to a select few destinations around the world – the only catch is that we have to fly standby so we never really know if we’re going to get on or not! Because our flights are so unpredictable our hands are tied in making any type of hotel reservation or agenda – it’s the sound of nails on a chalkboard for a planner like me.
Planning this trip (or lack of planning I should say) has made me realize how much I crave stability and knowing all the answers – both in life in general and in my business. The problem with over planning and being SO future-focused I’ve realized is that you really miss out on a whole lot of the journey. When the end destination becomes your obsession and preoccupation it’s really easy to miss important moments and milestones along the way AND it makes it almost impossible to be open to taking a new direction or responding to an unexpected opportunity.
Like that time I had planned out my life with the expectation that I would work a corporate job FOREVER and slowly work my way up the corporate ladder. I was so fixated on that idea that it made it incredibly hard and uncomfortable for me to accept the reality that a) I hated it b) It didn’t play to be strengths and c) It seems like I was being called out of full-time corporate work into owning my own business.
I tried to do both at the same time for a while. Working 45 hours a week, shooting weddings on weekends and spending my evenings editing. I didn’t want to give up my corporate job because I had my master plan that I thought I needed to desperately stick to so I spent a miserable 8 months pretending everything was fine and trying to twist my own arm into liking corporate work.
I finally summoned the courage to call a spade a spade and quit my full time job in October 2015 to pursue photography full time and I couldn’t be happier. That experience makes me wonder how many other things I might have missed out on (or COULD miss out on in the future) because of my tendency to over plan, thereby effectively shutting other doors of opportunity.
Being open to allowing my master plans to be changed is really hard. I like having a roadmap and knowing the exact turns I’ll be taking and when – I don’t like surprises around the corner! A personal goal for me for 2016 is to stop planning things years in advance and to trust God that His plans truly are better than me and they’ll be made clear when the timing is right.
As for our Europe trip – this is one small step in the right direction of retraining my mind and spirit to be OPEN to anything and to soak up the moment. Maybe one day we’ll go to Versailles, maybe another we’ll check out a vineyard. Maybe, we won’t even make it on a flight over there! I’m cringing at the unpredictability of it all as I type these words but I’m also excited to let go of the reigns for once and see how things unfold without an agenda. I’ll be keeping you posted and you can follow along on Instagram (@camille.catherine).