For as long as I could remember, I had my life planned out down to the minute. I was going to go to college, graduate school, become a successful writer, meet the man of my dreams, move to the suburbs and raise two kids in a house with a picket fence and a dog. That was the plan and for years that was all I wanted from life.
Of course plans mean nothing in this crazy, twisted world. Woody Allen knew what he was talking about when he said God laughs at our plans. In such an unpredictable world, maybe planning is the source of our inner peace about the future but obstacles will occur anyways. We can call them “bumps in the road” or “surprises” but they’re there nonetheless and they’re not very considerate about timing. In fact they’re pretty damn insensitive and tend to show up at the worst possible moment.
My plans fell to pieces after my freshman year of high school. Long gone were my dreams of writing and in its place, a business degree. So I wound up in a statistics course that ruined my life and locked me in the library for an entire semester, desperately trying to pass. Some good came of it though and thanks to my extra hours of studying, I got straight A’s that semester and decided to do something foolish. So I applied to a highly ranked university and surprise, surprise, I was accepted.
My acceptance letter came at the worst possible time of course. I spent the fall semester at my current college and was having a blast. I was involved in clubs, I had my best friends by my side and…a new boyfriend. And I really liked him.
Of course two months of dating wasn’t enough of an excuse to stay so I left. Scratch all the plans I’d made, Boston was the new plan.
Then came the part when I actually moved to Boston to attend this university I thought would be so great. I was ready to meet new people and study in one of my favorite cities. Of course I transferred in the middle of January during the worst winter Boston had seen in decades. I’m talking record-breaking snow and five days of cancelled classes. It was depressing and cold and I just wanted to go back to my old school. What had I been thinking? I even considered transferring back and still do sometimes.
Of course if that weren’t enough, my new roommate was miserable. I don’t know if I’ve ever truly hated anyone before but I disliked this girl from day one. I planned to stick it out and get through the semester but she made it impossible. So I called the housing department in February and moved out the day after. My new roommates were welcoming and a breath of fresh air. We were fast friends and I finally began to settle in despite the never-ending blizzards that kept us trapped in our room.
But spring came at last and I found a way to be happy. I wasn’t as happy as I used to be but with a few new friends and a little bit of yoga, I found a way to be okay again.
After a year of the best and worst moments of my life, I’ve come away with this lesson; plans are useless. If we could all draw a map of our lives or write our stories in advance, we would. I never planned on transferring. I never planned on being a business major and I never planned to need yoga to cope with my scrambled plans.
I’m 20-years-old and have no idea where my life is going and that’s okay. I’ve learned to be okay with it. Instead of making plans, I focus on the people in my life that are most important to me. I focus on myself and what I need and I focus on the things that make me happy. That’s what’s important in life and once you realize it, the rest of your life will fall into place. Don’t make plans, make progress.