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Once in a Lifetime: Should you plan your life?

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Image from Brett Streutker via FlickrHave you ever met somebody who has it all worked out? Someone who had their life goals identified from a young age and worked their damnedest to achieve them? Someone with tunnel vision and focus? I know I have. I have met people who have known exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it since their early teens. At times I envy them. They have such certainty and conviction. They never seem waver from their plan.I must say I am cut from a rather different cloth. Looking back over the course of my life, it might be possible to identify some coherent patterns and forward momentum to it all. If you squint and gloss over some of its muddled complexity, it might seem like the product of a careful plan. But it definitely didn’t (and doesn’t) feel like that in the moment. I have never planned my life — to a degree that’s frustrating to people that know me. I have never thought about where I want to be in five months time, let alone five years. If you wanted to sum up my philosophy of life, you could do worse than quote from Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’: Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life… the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't...I’m closer to 40 than I am to 22, so I’m hoping I’ll still be pretty interesting by then.All of this makes me suspicious of people who have it all planned out. They seem alien and inhuman to me. How could you have it all planned out? And since I am constantly seeking intellectual confirmation of my own prejudices, I decided to read up about the value of having a life plan. It turns out there is a rich philosophical tradition that favours the idea of having a life plan, but there is also considerable scepticism about the wisdom.Charles Larmore’s article ‘The Idea of a Life Plan’ is one of the better known contributions to this. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

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