As I’ve told you before, I’m a lousy Words With Friends player.  My Husband beats me 7 out of 10 games, and I have a much larger vocabulary.  I also have a winning record against in him in just about every game except pool…

So why am I monumentally bad at WWF?

Because I play a long game, and my Husband plays a short game.  He looks at the board the way it is at that moment, he looks at the letters in his deck, and he makes a move.  I look at my letters, look at the board, and then I try to “save” letters if I think they will be better used three moves from now. I always think about how many points I may get instead of what I can get.  This is not how to win at WWF- winning WWF requires being in the moment, playing the short game.

But what about life? What works better: playing the short game where you live in the moment, or the long game, playing with the future in mind?

Ideally, we should be all be alternatively playing the short and long game: figuring out when each different path is needed.  But do switch up looking at things, or do we find our method and just go with it every time? Now that I’ve recognized why I am not a successful WWF player, I’ve been winning slightly more often, but I can’t break the old habits that easily- I still find myself plotting three steps ahead. Why is it so hard to break the pattern?

I am a careful planner- I think ahead to what I’m going to make for dinner, I plan vacations, I plan how to spend my free time.  No one would ever label me spontaneous. And honestly, I can’t understand the mindset of those who don’t: one of my friends went on a vacation last year, by plane, and they didn’t reserve anything at the place they went to: not a car, not a hotel room, nothing. Now it worked out for them, but they waited in lines, had trouble finding a room at a reasonable price and found it hard to do anything because it turns out there was some sort of festival in town that week, and things were reserved in advance.  I could not operate like that.  Ever.  The minute I had to go to three places looking f or a room at the Inn I would have been crazed. Some people aren’t- some people just go with the flow…

And what about relationships?  I know plenty of people who are dreaming of their wedding while on a first date, while others are thinking of the date as a one time deal, maybe it will go to two?

Job strategy.  Do you vie for the corner office at the company you’re at?  Or do you job hop, hoping to find greener pastures at different companies?

Do you buy a fixer house and have long range plans with how you want to fix it, or do you flip properties as your needs change?

Child rearing.  When you parent, are you thinking of just getting through the year and the stage, or are you thinking about long term effects for your child?

So what do you all think? What is better- plotting steps out with the future in mind, or just doing what you need to get by in the moment? Can you successfully merge the two trains of thought, or do you find yourself predominantly leaning towards one side? Inquiring minds want to know…

63 thoughts on “The Long Game

  1. Omg. 🙃 So many questions!

    Honestly I am trying to relax just a little with all the planning because the family pushes back so much it’s affecting our relationships. I still plan my stuff, and the big picture stuff…but I’m trying to recognize the difference between planning objectively, and micro-managing.

    In some cases, anticipating less stress by planning ahead will likely result in a more positive outcome (vacation, for example), in other cases, letting them fall down to learn a lesson might be the better way (schoolwork, homework), so less planning (by me for them) is in order.

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  2. I’m a planner, often overly so. It’s rare that I do something too spontaneous. The vacation you mentioned would have been impossible for me. Too much chaos and uncertainty!
    Which is better? I suppose if living by the seat of your pants works for you then that’s great…until it doesn’t, but excessive planning can also hinder life, taking away that adventurous spirit to live in the moment and see what comes. I don’t have enough of that and I wish that I did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think spontaneous people can’t fathom a planner and vice versa. And I think the goal should be a little of both, but I think we get set in a certain mindset and can’t escape. It’s like with my husband…we alternate making “date” plans and mine are always planned out, and he’s sort of helper shelter and when it’s his turn we sort of just wander aimlessly. Who’s right?

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  3. I’m definitely a mix of the two. Somethings I need to plan right down to the last detail… like my teaching schedule. My students even know how much I hate when I have to adjust my ‘golden plan’ Lol. But other things are definitely go with the flow. Sometimes just having a general framework is enough and I can be flexible within it.

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  4. I’m at the halfway point between a planner and impulsive. I may have reserved plane tickets one week before my vacation – which i’ve done countless times – but the hotel will be reserved with the tickets. i wouldn’t plan anything else though , which i’d let go with the flow..
    Now, when i read the first two or three senteces of your post, the thought that came to my mind was ‘that’s because you’re a planner’. i got that from the beginning because so is my mom. she gets things done in a methodic way, and when things don’t go as planned, she feels like she failed, or at the very least, becomes restless. are you like that too?

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    1. Yeah…I’m not great when things don’t go the way I envision them. When we went to San Fran a few years ago I reserved Alcatraz tickets in advance. Turns out company screwed up and couldn’t take us. I’m still annoyed by this.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Vacation I have to plan how we’ll get there, where we’ll stay, etc. Once we get where we’re going I can be flexible about what we do there. Major event like a wedding – definitely planned, but if something doesn’t go quite right I wouldn’t stress about it, just make it a memory of the day. I think that is why actual planners are such a personal thing. Everyone has different qualifications in what they need their planners to do for them. Do I need a space for daily planning or just weekly planning? Do I need times of the day on the page or just blank space? Right?

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  6. I’m a fly by the seat of your pants person living in an organized chaotic life. I plan out appointments meticulously because if I don’t, I don’t get there. And I HAVE to be there early. It bugs me to always be rushing to get there on time. But the rest of my life is pretty free flowing. The vacation thing? I’d probably plan how to get there, where I’m sleeping, and definitely how to get home. But everything else? Whatever happens, happens.

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      1. I envy people who can make a list, write a plan and follow through. I always have good intentions of getting a planner and keeping it up, but it quickly becomes a paperweight on top of the piles of paperwork stacked on the nearest flat surface. I guess we each find that our way is the best way for ourselves.

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  7. I am not a big planner, but I do things with the long-term in mind. I like to think I have a good balance enough to be flexible (we don’t book everything in advance for a vacation). But a research trip requires me to know where I want to go and what I want to see beforehand to get the most information in the time I have. Day-to-day matters are very flexible. I have a to-do list, but nothing rigid about what to do when. I go with what I feel like at the moment.

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  8. I think it also depends at what stage of life you are at. I was a long term planner when I had daughters at home and commitments, thus the early retirement as per Now I couldn’t give a rats and just grab each day as it comes. No planning and no clock watching is what makes each and every day so good.

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  9. I’m chronically afflicted with taking incremental baby steps before nearly every action I take (except apparently ordering at a restaurant, according to my wife). It can be maddening to be with me because I over-analyze. I actually would like to be more carefree and spontaneous, but certainly not to the extent of your friends and their vacations. That would be too nerve-wracking for me.

    BTW, I like how you brought in the Words with Friends strategy to your theme here. Very clever. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so not a planner… I like to fly by the seat of my pants, it’s exciting, and challenges me to be resourceful. My son however, told me last night what his plans are for 2019/2020/2021, so clearly there is no genetic component! Balance is the best policy though 🙂

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  11. I appreciate planners like you , I admire them. I prefer spontaneity but I don’t like discovering there’s a festival in town and hotel rooms have doubled in price. 😂 so I guess you’d say I’ve chosen to plan at least some things. The fact that we have zero retirement savings tells you that my husband is the same or worse than me . Thankfully God takes care of us, not just financially but in very situation. He’s so merciful to me! I don’t deserve it. But I appreciate it. But I must confess that I’m very moody so I do get in moods where I try to plan out various parts of my life, but that mood passes . I’m mostly a creature of habit and intuition.

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      1. Haha!Well I’m learning to plan a little, so maybe you can learn to relax a little. Here’s a story for ya. In 5 weeks I will be running and driving along with a friend who is running 223 miles in 2. 5 days. We are just NOW discussing getting a hotel at the destination , what day we are leaving, and who all is going to be helping! I guess you could say he’s a worse planner than me.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Both my husband and I are long-term planners when it comes to the important stuff (we would never go on vacation without booking our rooms and a car!), but like to be spontaneous and short-term for the little stuff (like how we spend our days once we get to our vacation destination. It works for us!

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  13. 🤔your post seems to have caught my imagination, one phrase actually because I was thinking about it in bed………………….. more than once you’ve written hubby has a smaller vocabulary than you, 😃unsure what I’m trying to say but it had me thinking about relationship lol dynamics? 🤔hmm I should be thinking of things to do at night!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well….your comment got mr thinking in a lot of ways….but to answer the broad question, let’s say you are a thorough reader and read me most days, while some people only tune in once or twice a week so it’s a way of getting them on the page….😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I dont know. Good question. Somethings I plan and somethings I dont. Well be in vegas in week. I dont have anything planned to do whole we are there. We usually walk around and do whatever trips our trigger on any given day but our hotel and airline are booked. I am not a planner. This is one of the things I would like to change about myself in 2019.

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  15. I’ve always plan vacations, but after i become a mother I turn to plan most of the activitys and work we do! Sometimes I just try to go with the flow and end up with a terrible mood when things don’t work out the way we like! My partner also goes with the flow he doesn’t plan anything and I end up getting control of everything. Don’t like it but is that or No planing!


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