Every journey starts with a single headscarf

1 windmill

Dear Kitty,

Am I the only one without a five year plan?

I spoke to my sister the other day and she said that maybe the reason I’m so apathetic is I float through life like a mangy piece of driftwood. She actually said the word ‘mangy’. I couldn’t even muster up the oomph to be offended.

But she got me thinking and I started asking round and it turns out everyone’s been living their lives to some sort of meticulous agenda! Meanwhile, I find it hard to predict what I’m having for lunch.

So, I thought I’d have a go. I tried to summon my deepest desires but that just felt ridiculous so I thought about more sensible goals but each one seemed dependent on the last. Eventually, I said to myself: what do I want that doesn’t require a doting spouse, a winning scratch card or a hitherto undetected talent for ballroom dancing and what I came up with is I’d like to wear a hat.

Should I just kill myself now?


Dear Janie,

You can always tell the people who plan. They’re the ones who go into meltdown when the vending machine runs out of Chocachino. You, meanwhile, are the picture of serenity, given that it’s hard to freak out when your plans go awry if you haven’t actually got any plans.

Nonetheless, questions must be asked if the last time you felt a sense of purpose you were handing out the Berol pens in fourth year juniors. To continue your sister’s delightful analogy, perhaps your bit of driftwood is trapped in a tyre or stuck in a lump industrial sewage?

You’ve made a good start with the hat. Those conversant with the five year plan are happy to kick off with, “Buy a jaunty new head-scarf”, safe in the knowledge that it will lead to enhanced self-belief, a wider social network, exciting travel opportunities and, eventually, a position as Secretary of the United Nations. Try to remember, though, that the five year plan does require an inventory of goals for the next half-decade, not things you could do right now, else it would be called the ‘one day plan’, otherwise known as the ‘to do list’.

Lastly, a word of warning. Like other concepts adopted by Stalin (the cult of personality, the bushy moustache) the five year plan is a ticklish thing. Stick too fast to your early agenda and by the time you’ve fulfilled your bid to be a size eight orthodontist with an open-plan semi you’ll probably find you want to buy a windmill, direct a musical or go motorbiking with a plumber named Keith.

Man plans, God laughs. Nobody remembers to refill the hot chocolate.