Life plans I’ve made in my mind

Wallpaper dreams

#1 — Quit your job, sell your house, buy a little camper, and drive around with Foxy. You’ll probably stay in the US, but the Canadian border is right there so be sure to keep both your passport and her vaccination papers in the glove box. A Scamp would be ideal, but a teardrop trailer is probably more realistic for towing behind the Subaru (get a trailer hitch installed, btw). I wonder if grizzly bears can rip the door off a camper? You need to stay in campgrounds that have actual bathroom facilities, because you require running water and a mirror in which to apply your $100 eye cream. Don’t sell that long leash at your yard sale next month, because when you sit in your lawn chair drinking boxed wine, Foxy will need to be tied to a tree so she doesn’t chase a rabbit and get eaten by a grizzly bear. Oh, and buy a lawn chair.

#2 — Train for a marathon. You’re 33-years old, for crying out loud, and your knees will only get worse. It’s now or never. It’s okay to start slow. Tomorrow morning go run a mile, and just build up from there. Never mind that running a mile sounds like torture, let alone 26.2. Achievement is more important than anything else, and think about how good your butt will look.

#3 — Move back to Seattle and get a Masters in Counseling. Maybe you would be good at it! You care about people, and all you ever want to do is talk about feelings anyway.

[searches 98103 in Zillow, loses all hope]

#4 — Never mind, you can’t pay money to go back to school. You need to make money. Stay where you are and throw everything you can into retirement. You’ve been doing that for years, but that financial guy says you’re behind — because don’t you have any concept of inflation?

#5 — Wait a second, don’t worry about money. Trust God. Birds of the air, lilies of the field. (But I really do want that $100 eye cream.)

#6 — Get a puppy. Foxy needs her very own dog.

#7 — Have a baby. There are lots of ways — just google it.

#8 — Move back to Nashville and do life with all of your old friends. It’s hotter than literal hell in the summer, and yeah there were those cockroaches and the possum that frequented your apartment on Music Row, but there are no better people on earth than your friends in Tennessee. What’s more important than relationships, anyway?

[searches 37206 in Zillow, loses all hope]

#9 — Do the Whole30.

#10 — Write more songs for one of the three recording projects you have in mind. Actually, just choose which one you want to make, and do it. DO IT. It’s so important that you be writing, creating, making, Annie. You’ve somehow allowed yourself to believe that writing isn’t something you’re qualified to do, and here I am, your better self, begging you to do whatever it takes to throw yourself into these songs. Please do it.

[prays that she can do it]

#11 — You should probably fall in love, never mind that you’re really bad at falling in love. Let’s skip this for now, maybe circle back later.

#12 — Minnesota isn’t bad, you know. Just be present. Be here now. Explore. Invite people over for dinner. Wallpaper the stairwell, and maybe get new kitchen cabinets at some point. One day you can build a garage, but only after you save enough to pay cash.

#13 — Go work for Dave Ramsey?

#14 — Move into your mom’s basement. Just regroup. If you didn’t have a mortgage, you could afford to do more yoga.

#15 — I’m loving the baby idea. Could the baby sleep in a teardrop trailer?

#16 — Colorado is the best. Move back to Denver and who cares what your job is as long as you’re able to get to the mountains every weekend.

[searches 80211 in Zillow, loses all hope]

#17 — Stop making plans and just go with the flow.

#18 — Don’t let your life pass you by.

#19 — Trust God, but tie your camel.

#20 — Get quiet. Listen. Go on a walk every morning and every night. Be kind. Be honest. Forgive. Forgive. Even yourself, forgive. Do your best. Don’t be afraid. Remember that you’re hemmed in, behind and before — and that somewhere in the jumble of Christmas lights, there’s still a straight line.

Wallpaper dreams

Wallpaper dreams



  1. Stephanie on April 7, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    I vote #8! And maybe #11 and #13, subsequently. I appreciate your lovely candor this morning. And Zillow is the thief of joy. Talk to locals about hidden real estate gems instead. :)

  2. Pamela on April 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    Annie, I feel like this post is everything I’m thinking right now. I feel this deep sense of urgency to DO DO DO and DO IT NOW because life is JUST PASSING ME BY and if I’m ever going to be a writer/coffee shop owner/cycle bootcamp yogini/success I need to DO IT NOW. It’s a choking feeling, a crushing feeling, a desperate feeling that somehow leaves me with a lot of To Dos with little done. I got laid off about 3 weeks ago and I’m so torn between forging a new path and sticking to what’s safe.

    I wish you courage as you choose what makes you happiest. And just know if you ever come visit Denver, I have a lovely guest room with your name on in. Foxy welcome too!

  3. Angie Nikolas on April 7, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Oh Annie, sometimes you just GET me. I feel like I make similar lists and the only thing that stops them is that it’s VERY hard to type in the fetal position, which is where I usually end up having completely overwhelmed (and simultaneously underwhelmed, seriously, Angie, you’re 32, how do you have this many things undone in life?!) myself.

    That said I’ve tried (and will try again in May) #9. Protip: Do not plan Whole30 when a Garth Brooks concert lands on day 18. You’ll end up doing Whole17 and the “reintroduction” phase will include beer, a plate of nachos and deep dish pizza.

  4. Angela on April 7, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    This is awesome :) I feel the same way with so many ideas and dreams in my head. I think as long as we try and be happy everyday and go to bed with a roof over our heads, we will all be alright.

  5. Katie Noah Gibson on April 7, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    The details of my life are different, but this list still feels SO familiar. (Even the Zillow searching.) Being present is so hard. But I love #20. xoxo

  6. Val on April 7, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    “Remember that you’re hemmed in, behind and before — and that somewhere in the jumble of Christmas lights, there’s still a straight line.”

    That right there. That’s your writing qualification.

  7. Tracey on April 7, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    I just did the whole getting a masters in professional counseling – just go find a good counselor ;) it’s about the same price. I know the feelings but I’m 38 competing with middle 20 somethings for entry-level counseling positions while my husband is a Sr. Director of Whatever.

  8. Hilary on April 7, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    Ha! I love this. This feels so familiar. I’ve decided that the time to worry is when I stop imagining and wondering and just starting assuming that the way life is today is the way it always has to be.


  9. Thad Crowe on April 7, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Oh Annie Parsons, you are so freakin’ brilliant….

  10. Andrea on April 7, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    #20 is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

  11. Greta on April 7, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    Sometimes your writing makes me take a deep breath in, and sometimes it makes me sigh a big breath out. This one did both.

    Love your humor and honesty and heart.

    Also the wall paper. #justdoit

    Love you friend.

  12. Christina on April 7, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    You ARE a writer, and then some. Also, that wallpaper should be named The Annie, because it is SO YOU.

    <3 you.

  13. Amanda on April 7, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    #10–yes. #12–yes, especially if that’s the wallpaper sample. #18-#20–absolutely.

    If the mortgages in other places make you sick to your stomach, then I think maybe the baby idea is a bad one, too. Yes, it could in all honestly live in a teardrop. But you probably wouldn’t want to. Babies are expensive, hard, and would not make all of what you are feeling better.

    And, I have most of these same feelings on at least a monthly basis. You are not alone in wondering about every other possibility out there, and questioning every decision you have ever made. I think that’s life as an adult–nobody told us that this is what it’s like.

    I miss your face and we should hang out soon.

  14. Mrs. Chesney on April 7, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    I love this. And you.
    See you soon…

  15. shanna mallon on April 7, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    hahahaha! sweet Annie. I love and relate to this list in so many ways. Just reading it made me feel stressed out and excited and hopeful and terrified. Thank God I don’t usually get my life plans.

  16. Juliette on April 7, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    Buy the wallpaper. Borrow the baby. And skip the Whole 30. For sure. <3

  17. Leigh Kramer on April 7, 2016 at 6:23 PM

    I love you and I can’t wait to talk about all these things in just a couple of weeks. Because thoughts: I’ve got them. And also: get out of my head.

  18. jodie on April 7, 2016 at 7:19 PM

    we all flounder. but annie, do you know what you do have? you stay true to yourself. you just are every bit of who you are. i am still trying to get there. at 36, i still wrestle w insecurity and staying true to myself without compromise. that takes so much damn courage and you know what, all the rest of that stuff will work itself out. big big love from louisiana.

  19. Miranda on April 7, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    Come visit us! You can pretend you’re living in Nashville again but without the mortgage. You can take care of a baby as much (or as little) as you want, and we can walk and talk until we’re tired of it. I’ll cook food, and you can drink wine and write songs all night. Sounds pretty great to me!

  20. Friday Five | Elizabeth Hyndman on April 8, 2016 at 6:30 AM

    […] I love this about showing up before having it figured out. Usually, I’m more like Annie with her life plans made in her mind (I just loved this […]

  21. Rosemary on April 8, 2016 at 4:57 PM

    #21 – Keep writing your blog. Because you really do have a way of “nailing it”.?

  22. Christine Crowe on April 9, 2016 at 7:03 PM

    Annie Parsons, I appreciate what you have to say, how you write and your willingness to be vulnerable. And I feel so many of these things as well. It’s tough being single women in our 30’s. PS I love your fence!

  23. Beth on April 24, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    Sometimes I feel being single puts us right in the middle of a constant & big ole shitstorm of ‘should I stay or should I go now…’ so yeah, there’s that.

  24. […] Or I might buy a bed & breakfast. (I’ll add it to this list.) […]

  25. Joey on July 5, 2016 at 6:20 PM

    Where did you even get a camel?

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