I can recall the plan I once had for my life as an archaeologist living and working in a southern state (any place where it was warmer really). I knew where I was going to go to school, what kind of archaeological digs I was going to go on, what kind of place I was going to live in, etc. I had it all figured out. And while that plan was one I held in middle and high school, it was nonetheless one I felt strongly about. But, as they say, “life happens” and “reality sets in”…needless to say, I never left my home state and my career path never was one in archaeology (though I still love that subject and read about it often). My plan never came to fruition. I could offer plenty of other examples of this “phenomena” in my life, as I am sure you could do the same. Whether it’s the big things, like my “life plan” to be an archaeologist, or the little things like when it feels like the whole universe is conspiring against you some mornings as you just try to make it to work on time, the bottom line is that life seldom goes as planned. (I’m pretty sure this is some kind of universal truth.)
The challenging thing is to find a way to stay positive in the midst of the curveballs life can throw at us. And understandably so. Whether we are in the midst of a life path that suddenly takes an unforeseen turn or we consciously decide to make some major life shift because an unexpected opportunity has presented itself, unplanned change has a significant impact on us. It can be frustrating, irritating, and at times can leave you feeling defeated. The important thing to remember is you can get through it and come out on the other side in a better place than when you started.
You made need a little time to mourn the loss of someone or some thing in your life…you may need to take some time to gather your thoughts or wrap your head around what has occurred. Sometimes, you just need to stop and take a deep breath. Whatever you need to do…do it…it’s okay. Take that time to mourn, process, gather your thoughts, breath…whatever you need to do to be able to close that door and walk toward the next. Just don’t let yourself get stuck there. Allow yourself the time to be human, but then take the opportunity to move on and create something new. I know this sounds easier than what it often is in practice, but its all about your mindset. And you may likely need a different mindset each time something different happens in your life. You could choose to look at the unexpected change to your life plan as an opportunity to do something that maybe you have always wanted to do but for some reason never have. Or look at it as the chance to start over and be anyone and do anything you choose (in other words, redefine yourself). And I would also recommend that, as often as it is appropriate, you develop a sense of humor about it, especially when it comes to the smaller stuff. Life will happen to you so if you can laugh about it you will feel better than if you are always so serious about it, trust me….I have been there, done that, and got several T-shirts as they say!
Whether we like it or not, those times when life doesn’t go the way we had planned it will happen. Just remember that they are opportunities to rejuvenate or renew ourselves and our lives. In the words of Mark Nepo, “There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” Seize the opportunity when it comes your way…learn from it what you can and make the most of it. Become a better version of yourself and be the person you always wanted to be.