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Can not having a plan, be a plan?

Columnist Abdullah AlKhorayef sees his reflection through the trees.

I have never been one for long-term planning and setting resolutions. Truth be told, I am more affected by the idea of a year ending rather than a new one beginning – for me, the need for reflection is more important than the need to set in place a plan.

I have previously written about how I don’t have a great track record when it comes to things that I plan. Unfortunately, in my life, I have taken major risks without fully appreciating the long-term consequences, and have had to handle them, but what it has taught me is that rather than continuing to focus on a method that I know doesn’t work for me, I am someone that thrives on learning from experience.

The good thing about learning from doing is that the older you get, the more experience you have to help shape your future decision-making. So, out of my life’s experience, I have developed a method that relies on regular analysis and self-reflection. I often spend time thinking about what I have achieved; how I managed it; what I didn’t accomplish; what I wouldn’t do again; who the people that positively affected me; who are those with a negative impact on me; if I have been spending my time wisely, etc.

This form of thinking allows you to appreciate the importance of the smaller things in life, and how sometimes it is the seemingly banal actions or activities you do that are steps to bigger experiences – if you follow my thread. Note: I intentionally use the term ‘thread ’ as a deliberate metaphor…

Back in October 2023, the first-ever Riyadh Fashion Week took place. It was a hugely important event in Saudi for people like me (and likely, you, wonderful Esquire readers) who have a passion for the fashion industry and the potential that Saudi has in that space. When I first heard the announcement, I knew I had to be involved, but had no idea how. The thing is, it was only announced a few months ahead of time – giving precious little time for, you guessed it, planning.

I guess that played to my strengths. Rather than spending time thinking of what to do, I got to work. Fuelled by my passion and the desire to help contribute to the bigger picture, I ended up working backstage during some of the shows, helping style the models for the wonderful Saudi designer Noura Sulaiman, and helping style the ghutras for the international models at the Lomar show so that they looked authentically Saudi.

Each experience built upon the last one, but most importantly, they were all born from an attitude of hustle and a desire to try, rather than a fear of failure to achieve a goal. Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that everyone throws caution to the wind and barrels through life without a plan. The point is, that nothing is perfect. Sometimes we can be so focused on following through on a plan that we forget to notice the opportunities that may be around us, or materialize out of nothing.

A week after Riyadh Fashion Week an artist friend of mine, Bushra Al Jummaa, showed some of her work at the Heal by Atrum exhibition. Her installation was built as a commentary on how nothing in your daily life is insignificant. Both her exhibition and Fashion Week were held in the same venue in KAFD, and I reflect that one helps inform the other. Everything is important, if you make the time to notice.



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