Ever heard of the saying “If you wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans” or “We plan, God laughs“? The saying expresses the truth we can all relate to. At every stage of our lives we make plans, setting out where we want to go and imagining what it’ll be like when we have “arrived.” But things have a way of turning out not quite as we hoped or expected. All too often, life has a different plan than we do. We plan for the perfect things to happen to benefit us how we see fit, and then life takes us for a roller-coaster ride that sometimes leaves us nauseated. Sometimes there are minor changes in our plans, but other times they might be major. The ability to rethink, improvise and re-imagine what our future might hold, and change with the ever changing path, is what gets us moving to the next leg of the journey.
When you close your eyes and look back, did you see yourself where you are now? Did you imagine you’d have the job, the friends, the car, the apartment you currently have? Did you picture yourself with the same lover/partner, or with a future person? Did you imagine yourself having relationships that are messy, or absolutely perfect and secure? Sometimes we are not in control of our lives and we have to be okay with that.
Chances are, you saw your life a certain way. Maybe your dream was to start a business and to be surrounded by success; or maybe you dreamt of having a family, finding that special person and settling down. Maybe your dream was somewhere in the mix of all that, possibly in both a relationship and beginning a strong career. Maybe your dream was not about work or relationships at all, but finally coming to terms with the person you are.
You had it all figured out: self love, university, job, love, family, children. You thought through the way you wanted your days to go, how you wanted to build a life you would be proud of. Maybe you decided your ideal age for having children, for getting married, what kind of wedding you want, where you want to live, how many kids you want, etc.
Perhaps you had all these plans – but life had other plans.
I am a bit of a control freak (if you haven’t noticed). I love order, being prepared and making sense of the world around me. Planning helps me feel at ease; if I know what I want, how I plan on going about getting it and where exactly I need to go to get it, I am more confident in executing and bringing my vision to life.
However, if there’s one lesson I am constantly learning with my overzealous need to plan and map out every single aspect of my life, is that God’s plan for my life won’t always align with my plan for my life. And sometimes, even the best plans fall terribly short.
When I look back, I never would have imagined being where I am now, with the dreams I have and the people I have in my life. Five years ago, I never thought I’d be sharing my most random thoughts with people, some of which I have never met, on a blog. I never thought I’d have friends in different corners of the world and a boyfriend who constantly proves that I really wasn’t asking for too much in my previous relationships. I thought I’d be a wife (yikes!) by now (I was engaged 5 years ago – story for another day). When I imagined my future self, I didn’t think I’d be this passionate about writing, that I’d have the courage to start a blog, while also pursuing a career in something I enjoy (most of the time), that wasn’t even on my list of career paths for me to follow. I didn’t think that I’d have so many wonderful things around me, but still feel so bloody lost sometimes.
I think that the world puts so much focus on preparation. In school, we’re fed the lies that if we don’t do exceedingly well, we won’t make waves or amount to nothing. We’re encouraged to pursue relationships, to find “the one”, to never settle — so we’re always chasing the next best thing or person, trying so desperately to fill our lives with something that makes sense. My best relationship (my current one) is the one that found me when I wasn’t looking.
We spend so much time preparing and getting ready for this future, stressing over what is yet to happen, and setting plans for what’s next that we forget to live in the moment. We forget to celebrate the small & big wins; how far we’ve come and how triumphant we’ve been. We forget that life isn’t always going to go how we want it to or as we planned — we forget that maybe that’s the beauty of it.
I always thought my life would be perfect if I just did all the things I was “supposed” to do, and did them right. I thought if I just got good grades at school, got my degree and started working, found love in the ‘right’ person, my life would be a success and I would be happy, but that wasn’t necessarily true. (It didn’t work out quite like that.)
Personally, the best moments of my life are the ones I wasn’t prepared for, even the moments that contributed the most to my growth as a person completely blindsided me. I spent so much time searching for courses and career paths, planning and designing the future, and I ended up with a degree and a career that weren’t even on my radar (go figure!). I gave my heart and soul to a relationship that wasn’t even right for me (surprise surprise, he wasn’t ‘the one’ ). I got my heart broken, only to find myself in the healing process.
None of those moments were on the map, they weren’t planned; I didn’t see them coming. And yet I became the person I am today because of them.
Life had its own plans for me. I had to be confused, lose people I loved, experience loss through death, fall apart, question every single thing I believed, face challenges that made me feel like I was going to break, and completely start over multiple times. I won’t lie though, I fought like hell against all that, I thought my world was falling apart in those moments of the unknown, in those moments when nothing was going according to plan. And yet, in those moments, I rebuilt, and honestly, even I couldn’t have imagined this life, God’s plans were much much bigger than my wildest dreams.
It is in all those unplanned moments that I discovered and learned to love myself.
I have spent so much of my life trying to figure everything out, to plan every single aspect of my life (I still do this – don’t judge me, I am a work in progress), but the greatest lesson I’ve learned, and am still learning, is that I cannot control everything in my life, but what I can control, is how I grow from it.
I used to have a road map for my life, I planned every little detail. My favourite quote used to be “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I had a timeline, but I threw that damn thing away.
Sometimes the best moments in life are the ones you can’t anticipate, the ones you didn’t see coming. You just have to learn how to both hold on and let go, and allow yourself to experience them, feel them, celebrate them, bloom from them. And continue forward, welcoming whatever comes.
Are you an obsessive planner, the type that plans every single thing to the very last second or do you just take life as it comes and embrace each and every moment for what it is? Let me know.
Anyway, thanks for indulging my ramblings beautiful people. Till next time.