Anti-Planners Unite: Why I'm Perfectly Content Living In The Moment

by Elizabeth Brennan

Looking at lists stresses me out. Color coding my calendar is not appealing. Making plans for Saturday night two weeks in advance gives me anxiety.

Hello, my name is the anti-planner, the person who hates being tied down, who can't stand what’s coming next and who would rather be surprised by life. I am rare and mainly misunderstood.

Being someone who dislikes planning and prefers to be spontaneous all of the time comes with conflict.

Friends and lovers may view people like me as unreliable, waiting for the better offer and not willing to commit.

Let me explain: This is not always the case. There's a difference between being unreliable and being the anti-planner.

Being unreliable means making plans and canceling them on a consistent basis. Being the anti-planner is so much more complicated than that.

The anti-planner is reliable and, most importantly, courteous.

We don't break plans 10 minutes before because that's when we're making the plans in the first place.

We are upfront about the fact that we don't know what we're doing Saturday night because, frankly, we don't know what we’re doing an hour from now.

We are consistent with our endeavors, and this can often lead to eventful, unplanned evenings.

We get our energy from the unknown. We are excited by not expecting what is going to happen to us next.

Anti-planners hate being let down, just like any other person.

We drown ourselves in "Game of Thrones" binges and half-baked ice cream when our Hinge date cancels an hour before.

We feel disappointed when our best friend gets the stomach flu Friday night and we were supposed to go on a Grouper.

We know what it feels to be let down, and we don't mean to let you down when you try to make plans weeks in advance with us.

We just don't work that way, and we don't want to think that far into the future.

In our minds, planning can lead to expectations and, ultimately, disappointment. By simply not planning, we can avoid this feeling.

Don't get me wrong; we plan some things, of course. Some restaurants call for reservations weeks in advance; sometimes, we need to book a holiday months before, and save the dates for weddings are proudly placed on our fridge doors.

It’s just that we prefer not to plan when it's not necessary.

We understand life requires planning at times, and to avoid planning all together is childish and unrealistic.

It is in moments of flexibility we prefer to be open, unlocked from the day-to-day routines we all face due to 9-to-5 jobs.

Sometimes, having nothing on the agenda can lead to the busiest days.

Anti-planners are carefree, ready for an adventure. We are the people who are enthralled by the idea of walking into the airport with no destination in mind, and picking a city in the moment to go to for two weeks.

We are the people who would rather stumble upon a random dive bar on the Lower East Side than play dress up and make reservations for a stuffy restaurant.

It is in these spontaneous moments that some of the best memories are created.

By being the anti-planner, I've definitely given my mother a headache, stressed out my Type-A sister and friends, but the benefits outweigh these small infractions.

It is by being the anti-planner I was able to celebrate my 23rd birthday in London by booking a plane ticket the day before.

By canceling dinner reservations and going to a random street fair, I was able to get a date. By not planning, I am not disappointed.

I don't set expectations for myself to be let down. Some may say this is unrealistic, but I've done it for the past 23 years.

Do I plan? Of course I do; my job depends on it. (I’m a teacher.) Should I plan my social life a bit more?

Sure, but for right now, I love not knowing what I am doing after work today or this weekend.

It gives me a thrill to know anything can happen.

I could end up in a foreign country in a blink of an eye, I could meet someone who could change my life, or I may find a new favorite spot in the city, all because I live my life one moment at a time.