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Why make plans in a pandemic?

How do you make plans in a years-long pandemic? What’s even the point? People all across the globe are abandoning their New Years resolution rituals and walking right past the yearly planners and calendars in the stores. Some people either don’t feel they have anything to plan for or are afraid to get their hopes up and have to cancel their newly laid plans. Should we all throw our hands up and live day to day? Possibly, but let me tell you why I’m intent on making plans even in year three of the pandemic.

“What do I need to buy a planner for? I make plans and they get ruined by a new COVID variant popping up every time. Screw it. I’m not buying another planner.” Does this sound like you or someone you know? This line of thought is definitely logical but it’s also indicative of a defeated spirit. So many of us are tired of fighting and we’ve decided to wave the white flag. We do the bare minimum needed to survive day to day and can’t muster the energy to do much more. It’s not just you, it’s a thing. It almost feels silly and futile to make plans and actually write them down in the midst of the numerous struggles we’re currently facing. But it doesn’t have to be. If you like planners, buy one. Who cares if you don’t think you have anything to plan for. If you’re like me and an adorable new planner or to-do list app sparks joy, lean into that little thrill even if it’s fleeting. We deserve joy even in the midst of madness. Do you know what else we need? Hope.

Throwing in the towel and declaring we don’t have anything to look forward to can lead to despair and hopelessness. Looking around at all the violence and anger spilling out into the streets, I think it’s safe to say plenty of people have already given in to hopelessness. You don’t have to add to that number. We must resist the urge to give in and say nothing matters anymore. It’s hard to take steps to take care of your community, the health and well-being of others, and the world we leave for future generations if we believe nothing matters. It is vital for the good of the planet that we don’t stop planning for tomorrow, that we don’t give up hope.

1 in 3 Americans experienced depression in 2021. Take it from me, not making plans can add to the feeling that nothing matters and drive you deeper into depression. Even if you’ve written nothing in your planner for the day but shower, get fresh air, and call a friend, having a plan to take care of your well-being is a necessity.

For many of us, the present feels like purgatory or maybe even Hell and having something to look forward to is all we have. This is why I can’t afford not to make plans even though the world is still so far from normal. I may not be able to plan for grand vacations overseas right now or be assured the Broadway show I’ve been dying to see won’t be canceled or postponed but I can plan to do other things that bring joy, love, and peace into my life. I can plan to learn more and plan how to put what I’ve learned into action. I can plan to love more by practicing compassion for others and showing grace, volunteering in my community, and scheduling time to encourage others who may be feeling isolated and hopeless. I can make plans to improve myself and my community in numerous ways. We have plenty to plan for! And we have plenty to do for ourselves, for each other, and for the planet.

Sarah Lake is a contributing writer to Lake Media Group. She can be found on Twitter @Sarahsosincere