2 Boxers in 2 months
I have an urge to write but I have no idea what wants to come out. The one topic, issue, update that I want to get into though is how I am making 2 boxers work for 2 months.
In April, I bought ticket to come to Nigeria for the first time in 13 ish years. It’s crazy how when I got the ticket, I felt November was so long. Well, it’s November, and now it’s December. I am a whole 3 weeks in and I cannot believe how fast 2 months flies.
My Planning Style
I am well aware this style is very effective as a single guy but it will need a revamp when two become one. For now, it’s one of my favorite parts of being single.
I don’t worry about details. Where will I eat ? Where will I go for fun? Where should I visit in Nigeria ? What should my itinerary look like ?
Here is the funny thing though because people would jump to assume I am not a planner. Or I don’t think ahead. Which is just not true.
When I joined my company full time, I had my eye on my returning home after so long. I did not take any vacation or any meaningful time off from when I joined the company till when I got my ticket to Nigeria.
In that period, most of my team mates would berate me for not taking time off. Always working. My bosses all knew Dolapo will be available through any season.
My company also moved from accruing time off to unlimited PTO. Still I retained my accrued time and waited to unleash it on my visit to Nigeria.
Why is this pertinent? Because for me to have peace of mind when I finally go to Nigeria. For me to make sure I see everyone I want and need to see. I realized time is key. The very last thing I want is to have a 2 weeks holiday after so long; and try to squeeze people in three different states into it.
In my book, that is planning 3–5 years ahead to free me up to be spontaneous and adaptable.
Another premise of my planning style is to make sure the resources needed to be flexible are met and then worry less about knowing when they are to be deployed.
For instance, money. Besides time, money is a key resource that constrains planning. Most planners, especially the respected “detailed” ones, focus on avoiding waste. Waste in this case looks like these:
- Not spending money on change fees for plane tickets
- Getting the best deal on every transaction
- Saving money by shopping ahead
- Taking advantage of every deal season.
- Being clear what one is going to be doing, in order to communicate to others to hop on the well laid out plans.
Let’s throw in some wrinkles, when I landed in Lagos. I had full intent of being there for at least a week, maybe two before going to Ilorin. 4 days in, my dad summons me to come to Ilorin urgently. After refuting and complaining, I hopped on the plane and got there the 5th day, I was in Nigeria. If I had gotten my itinerary all booked up, I would have been unable to respond to the immediate need and schedule change. My dad would need to work with my schedule and important issues may end up dragging as a result.
The highlight so far of my trip has been spending almost 2 weeks and counting with my brother in Abuja. The decision to go with him to Abuja was last minute, unplanned and a flexible adaptation to his schedule which I knew nothing about.
Another premise update: keep a blank slate and fill it as real details come in. Making a decision without all the data is an important skill one must have but it can be overused and abused sometimes.
I picked the dates for my 2 months in April because it’s a major expense that is best to decide on ahead of time. I didn’t know if the dates would be perfect but I made a decision resting on the fact that I had ample of time anyways to be adaptable.
I am not flogging people that make decisions with little data exceptionally. Instead, I am sharing a complimentary planning skill that identifies which skill is needed for which decision.
When I find myself forcing people to make a decision for me to be able to mail down a date or plan my life. I usually know that I am doing it wrong.
Imagine me asking my sisters in April to tell me where they will be in November because I want to know if they will be in Lagos when I come. Now the question isn’t bad. It’s okay to ask, and if they know, great. But when I start to force them to commit to being there at a certain time I am coming; I feel, it’s straying into unhealthy planning.
2 Boxers in 2 months
There is an extreme version of this kind of planning. On my way to Nigeria, I basically
Packed enough clothes for less than a week. Most of my box space was used for gifts. Because for me, my biggest fear on the trip was gonna be seeing someone I ought to gift something to. Either because they played an instrumental role in helping me get to the US, by extension become the man I am today; or because they are family and in Yoruba, maybe Nigerian culture, you don’t return empty handed if you don’t want to be cursed by the elders :)
The plan was simple. Offload your gifts and have plenty of room to bring back shoes and clothes from the homeland. On the boxers, I tend to just buy more boxers when I run out of clean ones. It’s been my MO for 13 years. Okay maybe 9. I routinely wear out all my clean boxers, and instead of prioritizing laundry, I just buy more.
That was the plan for this trip. Just buy more boxers. I unintentionally had just 2 boxers packed. Something funny happened that highlights the planning flexibility.
Plan one was buy more boxers, but I landed in Lagos and knew nowhere close to buy boxers. Also, it took about a week plus for me to have cash. I was spending my sister’s money and I felt it wasn’t gonna make sense to ask to buy boxers with it.
The Unhygienic Phase
First of all, I decided to wear my boxers in and out. Hahaha, yes. It bought me time to figure out what I wanna do. I knew it was gross but time was coming thick and fast. This is the part where flexibility doesn’t always cover. But here is the fundamental divergence of mindset. A detail planner would freak out if they ever found themselves in that situation. It’s unbearable and a reflection of an identity issue, they think. I must be dirty, or a pig. How did I not think about this?
For me? Life is not that serious. If I wear the same boxers for 1 week and develop itch downtown. I simply buy new boxers when I can and go to the pharmacy to treat it.
In other words, the worst case is really WhT I worry about. If the worst case is not worth the headache, I don’t Spend much energy deciding ahead of time.
While in Lagos, I saw my sisters awash their underwear by hand and hang it up. It hit me that it’s an option. I am so used to washing machine that I felt unless I have a big enough load, I shouldn’t wash my boxers.
Two things happened though, my sister showed me how to use the washing machine. There are always laundry ready to be done. I could just add my 3–5 dirty clothes with a few of others and make up a good load.
Boxers solved for Lagos! Then I arrived in Ilorin. There is no washing machine; no functional one anyway. But my dad gave me like 4–5 shorts. Aha!! In the short term, I turned them into make shift two in one shorts-et-boxers. When I ran out of clean boxers, I simply wore my dad’s shorts. Problem solved.
Abuja Eye Opening
When I got to Abuja with my brother. I knew I was moving in with a bachelor. Not everything is gonna be simple and efficient. Also, my brother is very picky about hygiene and quality. He sees everything. In such close proximity. It’s just a question of time before he asked me, “did you wash those boxers?”
I don’t plan very detailed but I hate being embarrassed for poor planning. I had to find a solution.
Funny anecdote, on arriving in Abuja, the first place we went to was the shops close to his house. At this shops, I saw a store that sells boxers. I decided they would be my backup plan but I wanted to find a more sustainable solution. Clearly I shouldn’t go and buy 45 boxers one for each day remaining.
I tweaked my process. When I shower, I will wash my boxers. Wear the new one and hang the old one to dry.
So simple, yet so effective. What do I like about it:
- Washing clothes like washing dishes is annoying and feels like a chore once it piles up.
- I only need to wash the bottle neck
- It mindlessly integrates into my schedule without creating any feeling of tediousness
- It ensures that I always have a clean boxers.
My brother did notice my boxers conundrum and gave me one new one he had. I got so good with my routine that I actually haven’t opened that one boxers because it will throw off my cadence.
Plan to be flexible