When you graduate high school and you are headed off to college, at age 18, you are supposed to pick a major. Something that makes you happy and a topic you are passionate enough about that you could spend the rest of your life doing is supposed to be known to you after you have spent 18 years living at home, in a controlled environment, with your parents/guardian, specific classes offered by your school, the school’s rules, and not having to worry about affordable housing and paying all the bills that go along with the housing. You are asked to pick a future without having been really out in the world to see everything there is to offer. So, some of us choose to continue with school and attend college, some choose to go directly to work, and others do what they need to do to survive. At that time, we think we know it all. We think we know more than our parents, our siblings, and all those older than us that try to give us guidance and advice; even though they have actually HAD the life experience and just want to prevent us from making mistakes they had made. But, at age 18, we think we know more, we think we know better, and we think that they “just don’t understand.”
We go off in the direction we choose, with or without the support or blessing of our friends and family. If we choose college, we may end up changing our major 1 or 2 (3 times in my case) or more times because as we go out in the world, we begin to try new things, and we learn and develop new interests, or we continue to develop the interests we always had, but when we get that high school diploma, we think we know exactly where we are going to be. We have a plan. Married by 30, kids, houseowner, business owner, grad school, etc. have been perfectly planned in our heads and we work as hard as we can to stick to that plan. That perfectly mapped plan.
BOOM! WHAM! Life happens and you fail that first course in you intended major and suddenly you are scrambling because you need to come up with a Plan B. Life happens and that “love of your life” breaks your heart. Life happens and you become pregnant before you are married and have a career. Life happens and you get diagnosed with a mental illness. Life happens and sometimes we need to deviate from our original mapped plan. When you are in your 20’s you think, “It’s ok, I have plenty of time to figure it out.” But, when you hit your 30’s, you begin to freak out a little more. When you are in your 30’s, you have a lot more responsibilities than you did when you graduated high school. When “life happens” after you have been married and had a career, and “life” takes all that away, a plan B is not as easy as you would think.
When “life” happens after you have been set and established and going in the direction you finally had believed was your intended path, it sucks. I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it. It sucks. You see all your friends and family moving forward and you see their lives developing and becoming all of the things YOU had on your original, perfectly mapped plan, it sucks. You know that you have to pick yourself back up and map out a new plan, but how do you know where to go when you have no idea where to even start? You want to try and salvage as much as you can, but some of it is unsalvagable. You have to start over.
Starting over can be exciting, but also scary, yet we all have to do it at some point in our lives; some more than others. And that is where I am at. I feel like I am getting better and am on the right track and I know the direction I want to go, but then I get scared that I will crash and burn and be back to the beginning trying to make yet another new map and plan. How do you know and believe in yourself enough to try Plan B, or C, or D. How do you know that this time, your plan is the right one and this is the one you need to run with. After your plan B or C or D, or Z have failed, how do begin again and NOT question yourself constantly wondering if “this time” it’s the right plan. How do you get back to how you felt at age 18 where you had a plan and you were confident enough to follow it with all the vigor and zest that you did when you first left the gate at age 18? How do you let “life” just take the wheel and jump on for the ride? How do you know that this is the right plan?