“Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a standard question we get during interviews, on tests, and even around the dinner table on Thanksgiving. Some are able to answer it right down to the exact year and month they plan to get married. Others can’t even tell you what they’re planning on doing tomorrow.
Some people find comfort in planning out their lives, maybe because it gives them the confidence to go for whatever they set down for themselves. Or maybe it makes them feel less anxious about the unknown and having a blank sheet with nothing to write down.
I was someone who always used to need to have a plan. I’ve kept a planner in my purse for many years now to jot down anything I need to do so I can feel good about myself when I cross it off. For a while, I thought my life was going in the right direction, but then it sort of spiraled out and I’m left contemplating a lot and recreating my new normal. They say change is good, but what happens when a lot comes at you all at once? I’m not someone who deals with change well, and what I went through was enough to almost push me off the edge.
But here’s the thing, as much as I think about everything I’ve been through and the amount of change I’ve endured, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Because I believe that everything that has happened to me in my life has been for a reason. And that’s a hard thing for me to admit.
I don’t think I could ever explain it to myself, but would anyone be able to? Would anyone be able to understand the way life works and why things that are good or bad happen to us? I know we all wish that we could have everything work out for us—I certainly do. But I think if we got everything we dreamed of without any worry, we wouldn’t appreciate it in the long run. We wouldn’t be able to look back and tell our loved ones how hard we worked to get what we wanted. In the end, we’d feel disappointed in ourselves.
Sometimes I feel like life is trying to mess with my head. I’ll have great days and good things happening to me, all for it to come to a standstill because something along the way goes wrong. The worst parts about those times is sometimes we don’t see them coming and can’t control them, so we’re forced to accept this new normal in our life.
I could sit here and tell you about all the good and bad things that have happened to me these past nine months, but would that change anything? No. It would just be me venting to a bunch of people about my life problems and worries instead of learning to move on in a healthy way.
Because here’s the harsh truth: We can’t control the way our life turns out. We’re not born and given a book that tells us everything that is going to happen in our lives, and nothing is going to change that. That’s just not the case. Because if it were, then I would be living on my own in the city with my dream job as a writer for a magazine, and that’s nowhere close to what my life is like.
I’m not saying my life isn’t great the way it is right now. I’m happy with where things are going and where things are going to go eventually. I have so much to be thankful for that I don’t think I would’ve appreciated if my life went the way I planned for it to go.
I can’t tell you why certain events in our life happen. I can’t tell you why sometimes you don’t end up getting the job you wanted, or why the person you thought you would spend forever with changes their mind, or why you sometimes pack up and leave the place you thought you would spend longer in to move somewhere new and unexpected.
But I can tell you this: Someday you’re going to look back when you’re older and smile at those bad times, because it will lead you to where you end up in the future. I can guarantee you it will be with a better job, a better person, and a better place than all the ones you thought were good enough for you before.
Maybe you don’t believe it right now because it’s too hard to look that far ahead. I know, I’m right with you. But I’m learning to take each day and be thankful for what I have around me. And that’s a job I love going to because I’ve formed amazing friendships, a boy who makes the sun jealous for how much he lights up my life, and a place I can go home to that no longer makes me feel anxious or depressed and on edge.
So just trust that life is leading you into the right direction. And when some twists and turns come up, take them with grace and keep going forward.