“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to go forth with the one that is waiting.” – Joseph Campbell –
I am a creature of habit. By default, any occurrence in my life that is a deviation from a plan that I have somewhat made, sets me out of my comfort zone. I am most comfortable when I am expecting the expected.
I would be lying if I said that at the age of 20, I didn’t already have my life mapped out. I would also be lying if I said that at the age of 25, it had all gone according to plan. Quite honestly, nothing has gone according to plan. And does it make me feel uncomfortable? Yes. Absolutely. The words in that quote therefore have quite a lot of depth to someone like myself, for I have come to realise in the last six months that life does not always take the expected path. Every aspect of what I had planned for and envisioned for my life in the present and in the near and distant future has deviated from what I expected. Again, I would be lying if I said that I was 100% alright with this. But, as time has gone on, I have become more accustomed to handling my own feelings of doubt and uncertainty when things don’t go to plan. How? Because I have realised that each time I am out of my comfort zone, I learn something new about myself. Maybe I’ll have gained a new attribute, or maybe I’ll have some incredible new memories, or maybe my eyes will have been opened to a new experience. But each time I step out of my comfort zone, I have an adventure. Sure, I am filled with apprehension at first, but that is what stepping out of the comfort zone feels like. It is difficult and then it is brilliant.
And the truth is, none of us can control the direction in which our life is heading. We can plan and we can predict, but we cannot foretell if these will be right. Indeed, sometimes we have to let go of plans and embrace the situations that have been thrust upon us. We must allow ourselves to step out of the comfort zone. Hanging on to certain ideals, I have found, can turn out to be futile and stressful and it is better to let go and embark on the journey that our lives are instead naturally taking us on.
For me, embracing the words within that quote means that I need to make a conscious effort to stop worrying that my life has not turned out the way that I expected it to – because I spent a lot of 2017 worrying about this. I am instead going to focus my energy on making this year the most adventurous year of my life (so far). I am going to deviate from my plans and I am going to try new things and learn daily. I am going to accept that life doesn’t always take the expected route, but I am going to make sure that this is the year where “not going according to plan” is the best thing that ever happened to me.