You will plan everything. You will write it out in your agenda, all that you will do to make sure you succeed. You will scribble to do lists in your planner and check every one off, only to find yourself checking off less and less as time goes on. Suddenly, your planner is empty.
You will apply for every job. All of your dream jobs will pop up on your computer screen, through craigslist and indeed, only to never get a response. You will begin to think that maybe, just maybe, your dream job isn’t meant to be. Then you start applying for coffee shops and juice bars because you need to pay rent.
You will become an artist. Whether it’s doodling to keep your mind centered, or writing your worries out on a blank page—you will not know what else to do with your spare time. Your dream job may be out of reach, but creativity will be everywhere. It will be at the palm of your hands and then you’ll start to think that being an artist is your new beginning.
You will fail as an artist. You will compare your work to others, only to realize your work isn’t as good. You will cry at night, wondering why it is you feel so good creating, but not be good at it. You will throw away your projects. You will put them on pause. You will decide that art just isn’t for you and anyone who tries, is simply out of their mind.
You will drink a lot. You will fill nights with endless laughs and shots, friends and dancing, spending too much money and engaging in one night stands. You will think this is the only way to feel complete satisfaction. You will think life can only be as good as what you do socially because everything else hasn’t quite fallen into place and you need something to feel alive again. You need something and someone to bring you joy, but you will soon start to realize that conversations get dull when all you have in common in drinking. Your one night stands become less passionate. Your energy is too low for another late night.
You will change. You will become an entirely new person, someone who may be pessimistic—when it comes to your future, your friends, or your love life. You will wonder how it was you ever had high hopes to begin with. You will look in the mirror to see someone you can no longer recognize. Maybe you apply on more makeup to cover your tired eyes. Maybe the stubble on your chin is growing out longer than it has before. Maybe your gut starts to grow and you feel heavier than usual. Maybe you don’t like what you see.
Then, you will want to change again.
You will buy a new planner and fill it. You will fill it with words of wisdom, quotes from your favorite writers and goals for the day ahead. You will check off all that you do, and plan to do the rest when you can. You will not overwhelm yourself when things don’t get finished, because you have already learned that pressure only leads to breaking. You keep planning, even when the plans change, even when the plans fail. You won’t give up this time.
You keep looking for work. You enjoy your customer service job, the money it brings you and the people it has introduced you to. You will walk in with a smile and discuss with customers all that you want to do with your life as soon as the opportunities arise. You will see the reasons for being where you are in that moment and take advantage of what you can learn from it.
You will pick up that pen again. You will paint in many colors. You will doodle in your journal and sing in the shower. You will make art, not because you plan to be an artist, but because you are one. You have found that your soul is strengthened, even if you sing off key or misspell words. You know that art saves and heals—that it is something to keep in your life forever.
You will still drink, but maybe not as much. You will know how to have a good time without overdoing it or feeling regretful the next day. You will start taking care of yourself, because you know the only way to truly enjoy life is to be present and healthy in each moment—to be able to dive deep into conversations, into your plans, into the day with a sober mind.
You will change—not back to who you were, but you will find parts of you that went missing during those hard times. You will also find new parts—better parts, stronger parts. All the parts of yourself that have grown through your struggles. You will be more capable, filled with elasticity, strengthened by hope, and powered by determination. You will start to see new opportunities arise—opportunities that you wouldn’t have even imagined when you were sitting in a classroom while taking notes.
You will become more you, over time and with every struggle.
Don’t let the bad times break you down or throw you off course because those are the times you really need to survive in order to live the life you are meant to have.
Just remember that life will never go as planned, but it will always go as it should be.