Fall is harvest time, when you reap what you’ve sown, at least as far as farming cycles go.  But on a more personal level, we’re all reaping what we’ve sown, for better or worse, all of the time. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen.

A harvest requires a carefully executed plan, if you have any shot at reaping anything worthwhile. I like a good plan. A plan makes me feel like I have some control. The idea behind a good plan is you can see where you’re headed. By following certain steps, you reach a conclusion, or harvest, of your own design, the reward for your careful planning.

Yet, I’ve reached the point where I realize every plan, if one hopes to accomplish anything at all, must have a healthy dose of “Whatever” firmly ingrained.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at my ideal daily plan, as opposed to what actually happens.

Ideal Plan

7:30 a.m.: Rise, well rested after a full night’s sleep. Go for thirty-minute run (really a walk, but run sounds better).

8:15: Eat healthy breakfast. Shower with luxurious body wash, style hair, apply make-up. Dress in cute outfit that allows me to think I look younger than I am.

9:00: Check email for five minutes, update all social media with witty and intriguing posts, write one new column for online site, update blog, and work on next chapter in new book.

1:00 p.m.: Meet best friend Chris for lunch.

2:15: Pick up fresh fish and fresh vegetables for dinner.

3:00: Second daily email check. Confirm upcoming speaking engagement. Submit three new speaking proposals. Create outline for quarterly newsletter.

5:30: Prepare fabulous dinner while sipping chilled Pinot Grigio. Serve meal to round of applause from adoring husband.

7:00-11:00 Enjoy intelligent conversation with husband while watching PBS and nibbling on a single square of dark chocolate.

11:30: Retire satisfied after a fulfilling, productive day. Fall asleep immediately, sleep soundly all night, and repeat similar plan next day.

The “Whatever” Plan

Oversleep. Run up and down the steps three times and call it a workout. Cram Pop Tart in mouth while standing at sink. Gulp a mouthful of water to wash it down.

Jump in shower finding no body wash and only a sliver of soap. Drop sliver down drain and finish shower by washing body with shampoo. Throw on stretched out yoga pants and wrinkled t-shirt. Skip hair and make-up.

Turn on computer. Wait while Windows updates. Open email. Waste 30 minutes reading and answering unnecessary stuff. Check Facebook to update social media and get distracted by cute pictures of my adorable grandkids.

Hear Dave (husband) yelling from his (home) office asking for help with a computer issue. Spend 30 minutes finding documents he lost on his computer. Edit proposal letter for his new client.

Hear cell phone ringing upstairs. Race up steps and miss call from potential client. Return call and get voicemail. Leave message.

Lunch cancelled, which I guessed, as Chris moved back to Minnesota in 2011. It would be hard for her to make it. Slap together a PB & J on two ends of bread (one white, one whole grain) and gnaw.

Pass calendar on way to fridge. Realize I’m missing dentist appointment. Tear upstairs, brush teeth, try to remove crunchy peanut butter remnants.

Arrive at dentist half hour late for appointment. Wait an hour reading old copies of Highlights for Kids, which is no fun since some brat circled all the hidden picture objects in pen.

Return home desperate to accomplish something.

Discover giant puddle from clogged air conditioner hose in basement. Spend next 40 minutes wet-vacuuming water.

Remember that I forgot to pick up dry cleaning which includes dress needed for speaking engagement. Drive to dry cleaners. Get call in car asking if I can babysit next day.  Respond with enthusiastic “YES” as if nothing is more important… or fun (which it is).

Well past dinner prep time, realize there is no dinner prepped. Throw chicken on grill (third night this week), grab box of rice, and toss sad, wilted lettuce into a bowl. Remember there is no wine as I took the last swig from the bottle last night. Swear out loud.

Put dinner on table. Remember husband is coaching soccer game at a college 50 miles away and won’t be home to eat.

Throw dinner in containers for tomorrow. Grab a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon. Turn on television and watch mindless crap all night. Get to bed at 12:30 a.m. after getting sucked into Facebook again.

Sweat through seven hot flashes throughout the night, waking every time, plus twice to pee. Repeat.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating–just a little. It’s really not always that bad, and I do accomplish things, sometimes even according to plan. But on days when you can’t control the chaos, embrace the “Whatever.” Eventually, the important stuff gets done.

A healthy harvest requires lots of flexibility. And remember, there’s always tomorrow’s plan.