Don’t Change Your Plans

Inspired by: “Don’t Change Your Plans” (1999) from the Ben Folds Five album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

I’m sensing a theme in this week’s song already, and it’s only Tuesday.

“Don’t Change Your Plans” features our narrator letting someone go to chase their plans in Los Angeles, since his heart tells him to remain in the Northeast somewhere:

Don’t change your plans for me
I won’t move to LA
The leaves are falling back east
That’s where I’m going to stay

“Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds

When this album was released in April 1999, I was contemplating “changing my plans” to make the opposite move, from Utah to Connecticut, as I finished up high school. I thought it was a good decision, but I decided to delay for some reason at that time, deciding to at least start college while my then-girlfriend finished up high school the next year (she was only a year behind me, weirdos). We had some minor issues, which should have been the thing that indicated it was a doomed endeavor, but we nevertheless persisted, and I eventually moved to Connecticut after I completed my initial military training.

It was a pretty fun experience, all things considered, and one that almost ended on Christmas night 2000 when we were kicked out of the place we were staying temporarily while I got settled and whatnot. I nearly decided to abandon the whole endeavor that night, but I stuck it out instead, leading to a lot of good times, a lot of heartbreak, and growing up like you’re supposed to do in your 20s I suppose.

I don’t regret the move; our lives are linear after all and had the move not happened, I wouldn’t have eventually met Kim and had the life I have today. But at the same time, maybe if someone is telling you not to do something unless you really want to, you should take it as a sign. Not that things were doomed to fail, but the act of moving across the country is not enough of a trump card to use when things start to go sour.

I didn’t have a life to go back to. My “life” had moved to Connecticut and been changed by the experiences there, just like it has been changed at every other step along the way. And how it will continue to change at every future step. I know for a lot of people, the past two years seem to be a lot of the same thing; I know it has been for me. Getting up in the morning, coming down to the basement, working for a bit, eating lunch, more work. Rinse and repeat. The variety I had in my life prior to COVID-19 wasn’t a whole lot different, just changing the part where I went to a credit union instead of the basement.

But I digress.

It’s okay to make plans, and change plans when the situation changes for better or worse. Those “changes” are always more pronounced in retrospect anyway, so you’re likely not going to know in the moment that you are at an inflection point toward some other potential path. Changes don’t have to be like the song or the one from my life; they can be small and mostly insignificant in the moment and still have last impact down the road. So don’t be afraid to change your plans.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Change Your Plans

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