A new year, but how do we plan now?

As most of my friends will tell you I am not really into massive celebrations, unless it is football related! So if I am honest, much as I enjoy the family and friend time of Christmas and the New Year, it never really feels like a time of celebration. I always have the same hope each year, which is that the coming year is an improvement on the previous ones. Of course, it never works like that, and in recent times, I have had some massive highs, followed by some very bad lows, never really quite sure what will happen next!

So I am really going to tempt fate now! I am starting to feel positive, and this is usually where things start to go wrong, but I have seen it before, so know what to expect.The only thing I normally plan for the future is my football season ticket, and I only buy one season at a time! But it feels different now.There are some really interesting projects for me to do, with things appearing for later in the year. How do I approach this then?
Going on past experience, my health gets unreliable each year, just when I think things are going well. But I have actually agreed to take on some fixed commitments for this year. They are interesting opportunities, that come round rarely in life, so I decided to ‘go for it’ and although there is a lot of preparation to be done, I have my fingers crossed that I am well enough, to do them.
This made me think about how different my life planning, is since my diagnosis, but I have also noticed massive changes in our society,that seem to be affecting everyone with their planning too. I now live my life very much day to day, as I have found it very demoralising, making future plans and being unwell, and therefore unable to achieve them. Psychologically, I get a feeling of failure.
But there are many things that have happened in the world, that have meant it is now difficult for most of us to make many long term plans. Things like, the economy, pensions and investments, the job market, to name but a few. It seems that we all feel a lot more insecure than we did. So although we will know the direction that we want our life to go, we will never be sure of the exact route, as things happen, to cause us to change direction.

Gone are the days when we got a job, worked for one or two companies through our lifetime and retired with a lovely pension.Most people will change jobs frequently, and are unable to save adequately for their retirement. More people are renting, as they are unable to afford their own house, so are unable to feel the element of security that a lot of my generation are benefiting from.

My friends and I, and others of this age group, are feeling the ‘economic winds of change’ and it makes us feel uncomfortable. However, I have spoken to many young people, my sons included, that have now become accustomed to this way of life, but they seem to have the ‘worry about it tomorrow’ attitude. They know, that unless they have a remarkable slice of luck in their life, they will never own large houses, and retire, financially comfortable.

If I look on my household calendar, it is completed with various social functions throughout the year, my wife completes our social diary, with military precision. However if I ask my boys what they are doing at the weekend, they never know until Friday night! That said, they are very relaxed about things, and in many ways I am quite envious of that attitude. I don’t think I ever had that, even when I was younger.

In summary, it seems that although my life planning ability has changed, everyone else’s has  too, for different reasons, and we are now slowly having to adapt to short term planning. It is very difficult to change the habits of a lifetime, so many people are struggling to come to terms with what is happening.
I have found it extremely difficult to adapt, and if I am honest, still struggle with it, but the positive is that I am never sure what tomorrow will bring, good or bad, so life is never predictable! I know that I would be thinking differently if I was in the work place, but I guess I am very much ‘old school.’

Have you always had long term plans, or are you used to just turning up and letting it happen? Are you now having to adjust the way you think about things? Has an unexpected ‘health issue’ turned your life upside down? What does the New Year have in store for you? I look forward to hearing from you.

The Grove Hotel Bournemouth

I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions. 

 

4 Comments

  1. Chris, firstly I love Love LOVE that you’re feeling more positive. As someone who’s previously been called “Annoyingly Positive” I’m always trying to turn things around or reframe everything so that it has a positive slant.

    Re planning… I’ve never been someone who had a life plan. Or someone who would have a five year plan. I have however been someone who sees opportunities, explores and investigates them all and then grabs or discards each opportunity. I’m also happy to ‘fail’ as I view each ‘failure’ as a learning experience and know that I can learn and improve from it.

    Has my diagnosis changed my thinking? Without a doubt. I probably am more impulsive to embrace new ideas and opportunities. My diary is always packed out for the next 3 months… but empty beyond.

    Long term planning with uber caution – what happens if? what if I can’t do it? what if I’m not fit/well enough?

    That’s what I’ve got to work on… longer term planning and opportunities. After all, I need to believe the annoyingly positive attitude for me, myself and I!

  2. Hi Anna
    Many thanks!! As you mention it, that is one of the first things that struck me about you, was your positivity.It is not annoying btw!

    I did have a sort of ‘life plan,’although it went ‘off piste’ many times.I guess it was more of a direction! Like you,I was never scared to fail, as in my mind it was never an option anyway.Really agree with learning from new experiences, so always keen to ‘have a go.’

    My diagnosis made me feel very vulnerable,but that made me feel I had nothing to lose, and encouraged me to try new things.This has created exciting opportunities but unfortunately my illness seems to want to remove the enjoyment factor.

    I guess I am now always looking for the steam train coming at me, that I am not expecting.I have decluttered my life and focused on what will be of benefit to me. Hopefully my limited energy, will be there when required.

    My experience has taught me, that certain offers have to be taken up, as they may well not come again, or are appearing at the perfect time in my life, even if they are in the longer term.So I guess I have started that process but still find it difficult.

    Things are ok in my head, but during my frequent hospital visits, and my constant viewing of my files, sometimes reality kicks in!

    My main longer term objective this year is a selfish one. A holiday!! Let me try and make a plan now 🙂

    I feed of your positivity as I am sure many others do, many thanks and long may it continue!

    • Chris, whenever I plan something, life just kicks it into touch! I’d planned lamb for Sunday lunch, but a friend gave us a chicken – trivial I know but typical. The only appointments that I can be sure won’t be cancelled are the dentist/hygienist ones!
      Of course, you’re talking about a broader subject – the future in terms of this current year’s possibilities. Well I don’t plan ahead much, and never had a life-plan. I spent many years in a job, slowly working my way up, only to realise too late that my “career ladder” was leaning against the wrong wall!
      Take opportunities as and when they arise, if you can – and get that holiday booked!
      @anniecross1

  3. Hi Annie

    I know exactly what you mean. The good stuff gets messed about, and the tough stuff stays as it is.

    I have always been a planner, and since my illness it has become increasingly difficult to do that.Like you,when I make plans for positive things, something always seems to get in the way.

    Several times we have booked to go to the theatre and I have been unwell. Also I have been unwell for my wifes last two birthdays and have recently missed a wedding and a weekend away due to illness.

    I have some very high profile engagements and some exciting projects in the next few months and I am just hoping that I will be well enough to do them.

    Re the holiday. we have only managed one week in the sun in the last 5 years, as my health has not allowed any more, so I don’t know whether to tempt fate and book something.Probably will be a last minute thing!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment,Annie. Always much appreciated

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