Ma’am, With All Due Respect, You are No Dory


Photo: The Typical Female Magazine

On two of the last five mornings, my daughter Christina and I have huddled in my office, I on my elliptical and she in my office chair, watching Finding Dory. It’s what I do. The last R rated movie I saw was Ordinary People. That’s no lie.

I found the movie to be quite entertaining, but there was one point in the story, a story about a fish with short-term memory loss, that I found to be profound in its implications.

I believe it was the octopus that, exasperated with the confusion perpetuated by Dory’s Ground Hog Day approach to conversation asked, “Don’t you have a plan? What’s your plan? We can’t move forward without a plan!”

There was a pause, Dory turned round, looked at him and said, “I’ve never had a plan and I’m doing okay.”

Don’t worry. I won’t attempt to transform Finding Dory the movie into a framework for faith. I was just struck by that one thing she said.

Any-who, this morning I asked God to guide the day. That it was His to run as He saw fit. I didn’t really mean it. I thought I did at the time, but I found out later I didn’t. After I finished praying, I got a picture in my head. It was a picture with a line drawn down the middle.

On the left side was a picture of me gripping a small clock in my hands, laughing in a maniacal voice because I had the power to stop the clock’s hands from marching on. Yes, the picture had sound. On the right side was a picture of a huge clock with runner’s legs chasing a small version of me down a hill, nearly mowing me down while shouting, “I’m going to get you my pretty.”

I forcibly pushed the image out of my mind, thinking it would be a waste of time to try and figure it out anyway, and went on with my day.

But I had no plan. After having been sequestered away in my writing cave the last several weeks, the sudden freedom to do something else feels like a type of PTSD. Well, maybe not that, but I’m definitely out of whack. Why? I have no plan! A plan keeps me productive! A plan keeps me focused and clear about what I’m doing! A plan keeps my mind off the questions that come at me when I don’t have a plan, the biggest one being “What do I do now?”

It’s not a good question. If I’m asking that question, it means I need to sit down and develop a plan as soon as humanly possible because if I don’t, well then all life might break loose and the Good Lord knows I don’t want that to happen!

I didn’t do it…develop the plan that is. I became a puppet on a string, pulled in one direction and then another by random thoughts, incidental emails, notes from my daughter asking me to buy a spray bottle at Target, and doing deals with the City for a fun but relatively inexpensive family vacation at a camp up the hill. At least I went to the gym and spent two hours punishing my recovering body, trying to make up for the number of days I haven’t gone despite the hefty monthly fee we’re apparently paying only for the option to go.

And then there’s the time I spent driving to the gym and back followed by the requisite shower and fresh ensemble for my rare public appearance before running over to Target for my daughter’s spray bottle. Who lives like this?

I still don’t have a plan.

While still living the plan-based life of a project manager, I became expert at messaging, reframing the story, and claiming victory. Not that I was lying. I was moving with the story, not against it, and helping others to see how things worked out anyway.

Today’s story is this:

  • I had an awesome workout at the gym.
  • I made a great deal for a family vacation without breaking the bank even though we won’t have electricity for a week.
  • I found a spray bottle at Target.
  • And now I’m ready to put together a launch plan for my book.

For those of you expecting me to find something profound to say about Dory’s line in the movie, you already know what it is. And I’m not there yet.

Maybe tomorrow.