Farewell Snowbird

View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers

I have a friend at the pool where I swim three days a week. I really like her and we have a good time chatting as we work out. We are very different, and we are close. This morning’s workout was pretty typical for us–a little chat, some sweat, a little more chat– and a topic that came up was how she and her husband (they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!) are leaving for Florida where they snowbird from the New England cold. Sadly, he is not at all well. I asked my friend when they will return, and she shrugged her shoulders and said “I don’t know and it is just fine. We’ll be together.”

I was struck by how being together, wherever that is, is more important than plans and schedules that typically dominate our way of life. She had a look on her face that reflected an excitement for the adventure and for what will be rather than having a well-planned trip that would likely result in disappointment because her husband’s health is failing and their lives are quite unpredictable. They are throwing themselves, with enthusiasm and joy, into the unknown. I wish them love and peace on their adventure of no plans and doing whatever comes their way.

I love planning. I love plans and the process and how plans organize my life. My business is often about plans and strategic planning and fundraising plans. And I wonder, how do we plan when things are so unknown, unpredictable, fluid? In times of crisis (my friend’s husband’s cancer) or rapid change (massive economic downturns in our country), how do we plan when we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow much less in three to five years? What would it be like to really go with the flow…be in the moment? I have found the external reality of my world is forcing me to adjust my plans daily. It’s all I can do. So I plan to be flexible. I plan to make adjustments. Does this count?

Okay, so I am having a visual image…driving in a storm. Driving in a storm is hard work. The rain, the wind, wet and slippery roads. Windows beginning to fog up. Other drivers navigating their own cars to safety (or not). Our lazy, reflexive driving skills become sharp and we become alert because the external reality forces us to. And miles down the road the storm passes and things become normal again. There really is no planning that can happen; the storm is on you! And it will pass one way or another.

I have no plans for the weekend. We’ll see how that goes.


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Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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