Why life feels better when you’ve got a plan b

I’m a big fan of Viv Groskop. She’s clearly very funny, very smart and very successful (actually, I’m not sure I like her that much after all). But I feel I must take a stand against a recent blog she wrote for The Pool. (In case you’re not familiar with this website, it’s an ultra cool online platform for women, written by ultra cool online women. I want to be their friend. I’m not, so I write on Medium instead. No offence.)

Viv suggests having a plan b is bad for business — and your well-being. Actually, she doesn’t suggest it, she blatantly and boldly states the fact, backed up with a fancy new study in Scientific American and everything. How can I ever compete with that?

I can’t. But like Russell Brand once said to the crack pipe, I’ll give it a go.

Plan b is a bit like an imaginary friend. She brings joy into what is sometimes a lonely and joyless existence

So here I am defending the honour of plan b and all that she stands for. Which is more than can ever be said for Russell. Honour was never in his plan x, y or z, let alone b.

(Please note I’m using lower case, to avoid confusion with hip hop artist, slash-actor, slash-film director, slash-producer. That’s a lot of slashes, so I don’t think he needs ‘alternative strategy’ added to his list of obvious talents.)

Goodness, I’m using a lot of brackets in this blog. (Sorry.)

Imaginary friend

The thing about plan b (we’re back on the back-up now) is she’s a bit like an imaginary friend. She brings joy into what is sometimes a lonely and joyless existence. She makes us feel that outside the everyday grind we have endless possibilities. All you have to do is give plan b a call and she’ll come rushing over, pour us a glass of cold chardonnay (unoaked, natch) and turn our lives from drab to daydreamy.

But we don’t want her to be real. Imagine the horror of that?

No, no no. Plan b is the stuff of dreams; it what keeps us going during the Brexit months. It what stops us weeping into our pillow when we wake up to news that yet another gunman has vented his frustration on an innocent crowd.

I for one can do with all the friends — and opium — I can get in this current climate.

Actually, I still weep into my pillow. But once I’m up and dressed plan b makes me think all will be ok, if only I can escape the human race and hide my children in a pig farm somewhere on the South Downs.

Because this is my current plant b. Pig farming. I like pigs, and so does my daughter. If I’m busy raising pigs (and possibly later killing and eating them which is a bit weird, because as I said, I like pigs) I won’t have time to go online and realise that the world is falling apart around me.

Alternative version

Previous plan b’s have included being a dog walker, a script writer and a property developer. It’s what I like to chat about with friends on a drunken night out, or with my husband when the kids have gone to bed. We know it will probably never happen, but it’s fun imagining an alternative version of myself and wondering if I’d be happier/kinder/more fulfilled by taking a different path.

I guess there is the argument that having a plan b distracts from concentrating on the real task in hand — ie making a success of the life we have. Which is what the research called ‘psychological insurance’.

But isn’t that the whole point? Plan b isn’t a reality, it’s a distraction. It’s an opiate of the masses. It’s an imaginary friend. I think I may have said that already… But I for one can do with all the friends — and opium — I can get in this current climate. God bless plan b.

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