“Life is, Indeed, What Happens While You are Busy Making Other Plans”


     John Lennon? Allen Saunders? Quin Ryan? Walter Ward? Henry Cooke? Robert Balzer? L. S. McCandless? Who really said it first? The earliest written publication of this quote was sighted in the January, 1957 Readers Digest, Quotable Quotes. Though we know not the true author, one thing is for sure, many people have repeated it, probably in frustration, realizing that their well thought out plans had gone to the wayside, thwarted, quite simply another ruse that made them feel ‘in control’ of their life.  I certainly learned this long before I had ever heard the famous quote, when years ago, after months of well thought out plans to expand my business, I realized that life had just thrown me a curve ball, and life was carrying on without any chance of my well laid plans being a part of it. I even remember saying something similar, but alas, at some point, stumbled upon this famous quote, which completed the puzzle of my life, hitting home for me in a big way! Yes, those words would never unexpectedly hit me hard again, as I thought I had, by now, learned that ‘the universe always has the first move’, period.

      GG’s recent post on the subject of selling her home as part of the “plan”, hit home in a big way for me, and jogged my memory of my experience, which included the sale of property as the touchstone for one of my life’s great “plans”.


     Since 2000, after visiting my cousin in St. John USVI, I had dreamed of moving there, and experience ‘Life in Paradise’. I had been to a half dozen other Caribbean Islands, but none drew me like St. John. Sure, my cousin was there, and I had made many friends through my twice yearly visits over 5 or 6 years since, but it was not these things that drew me. It was it’s ‘campy’ small island feel, the friendly locals, the absolutely astounding variety of beaches, all in very close proximity to each other, it’s many ex-pats in my age group, that made it feel like a playground especially for 40-60 somethings, the fact that you could still get a delicious cheeseburger for five bucks, a love of sailboats & friends who owned them, the fact that three quarters of the island was national park, and on and on and on……. At any rate, you get the idea.


     Up until now, 2006, it had been a dream of mine. But after all, dreams are for dreamers, and plans are for doers. So I needed a plan! Oh, but there is that 4 letter word again.

     Having been a real estate broker for 15 yrs and counting, I had a handle on the market, and an inkling that the RE bubble in Boston was about to burst in the not too distant future. Having been a top producer and listing agent, I had no desire to kiss seller’s toes when that bubble actually burst. I could see a definite downturn, via less listings and more competition, a veritable shark pool of agents swarming every potential listing. I, in no way, wanted a part in that, and thought, I would rather go swim with sharks in paradise. I needed a plan.


     So plan I did! I had renovated three units in a three family dwelling, two of which were sold off already. I set about finishing the renovation of the last unit, mine. The plan was to finish it, put it on in the spring market of 2007. Once it sold, I would have the funds I needed to sustain myself on St. John, at least until I found a job, while putting the rest away for a nest egg. I calculated that it would be sold and closed by late summer, after all, I was an agent, who should know better than me? So, I had set my ‘plan’ in motion and was halfway there! Once sold, I could leave the ‘rat race’ behind, probably in Sept., and arrive down STJ just in time to start the busy tourist season, thereby the best time to land a job.

     Well, the summer came and went, no bites on my condo, so by Aug., I knew my ‘plan’ was just that, and life was taking it’s own course. So, I made a decision, I put my condo in the hands of a good broker friend, put my belongings in storage, packed my summer clothes and bare necessities, counted my cash, and boldly made my departure!

cruz bay

     Arriving mid Sept., I actually found a job my first day there, in my favorite restaurant in Coral Bay, the Shipwreck Landing, right next door to where I would be staying temporarily, with my cousin, until I got settled in a place of my own.

Shipwreck Landing

     So, once again, that not so old saying, that “Life is what happens, while you are planning it” (my version of the saying) rang true. And while many men have been credited with authoring it, I was once again, reminded that plans are just ideas of the way we want life to proceed, and that many a well laid plan goes awry, so we just have to hop on the unicorn’s back, grab that horn, and let it take us for a ride, because if you wait for your perfect plan to unfold the way you plan it, forever comes along, and all you are left with is your dream.


      My house did sell in January, and the job I thought would be hard to find, fell in my lap first day on island, and could not have been much more convenient than right next door. So, dreams do come true, but planning life often doesn’t.

 “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“Life is, Indeed, What Happens While You are Busy Making Other Plans” — 4 Comments

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