I HAVE always been a planner. As a child I would start plotting my Hallowe'en costume as soon as the schools went back after the summer holidays. I'd be gathering wood for Bonfire Night from September. My Christmas list was on its 10th draft by October.

Life makes more sense when I can see everything slotted into neat little boxes as the weeks and months stretch ahead. This has served me well. Until now.

Let's rewind to the turn of the year. Between Christmas and New Year – when most sensible people were cocooned in the blissful fog of a carb-induced coma on the sofa – I was scouring the internet in search of bargain dresses to wear nice places.

On January 1 – when most wise folk were sleeping off hangovers or tucking into a hearty steak pie – I was perusing holiday accommodation. Around the same time, word began filtering through about a Sars-like virus in China. And here we are. There are some things you just can't plan for.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick's Week: Why I hate The Big Light

The upshot? Holidays booked: three. Holidays taken: 0. That clutch of swish new dresses bought in the sales? They got a couple of months wear at best before jogging bottoms and cosy jumpers became the de rigueur attire of homeworking.

There's a moral to this tale: don't miss out on the joy of the moment because you're trying to nail down a future that may never happen.

As we head into the last quarter of 2020, the only thing that is certain is uncertainty which is a paradox I'm learning to embrace. My diary is wide open. The sole entry is a reminder to give the dog his worming tablet and flea/tick medication each month.

That said, I have done some teeny tiny planning ahead – old habits die heart – and purchased heavy-duty thermal underwear. If we're all to be adopting the Scandinavian way of life, where people routinely socialise outdoors in the depths of winter, then those are a must.

It may also be that I've channelled my organising energy elsewhere. I recently binged-watched The Home Edit on Netflix, a lifestyle series about two women in the US whose life's work is to get other people's wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and living spaces into shipshape order.

We're talking clinical precision, colour coding and the beautiful curating of mundane everyday objects such as socks, cutlery and felt-tip pens. It is an art form.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick's Week: Hello, nightmare – how the pandemic is affecting our dreams

After viewing one episode, I did a pantry makeover, lining up rice and pasta, condiments, tins of beans, soup and custard, in neat rows along the shelves. It looked very sleek. Which would be fine if I were the one who did the cooking (which I'm not) so within days it was in utter disarray again.

Which is perhaps a good metaphor for where we are now. As we continue to move through the strange and unfamiliar hinterland of this pandemic, normality is a shapeshifting beast. The trick is to do likewise. And live in the present.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald