The first thing I do when confronted with a situation in which I have little to no control over is, of course, to attempt control. It’s my natural instinct to provide security for myself and others, research things and places before I do them or visit, learn about new things as much as possible before even thinking of attempting to do them, etc. In the end, this all boils down to simply desiring safety and comfort in my own life. If I know what I can reasonably expect in a certain scenario, it’s easier for me to jump in headfirst.
Being someone who thoroughly enjoys research and planning, I naturally became the designated trip planner for the Belize vacation myself and 6 other women (most of them family) embarked on in late June. I even went so far as to get everyone on the same connecting flight to Belize despite the fact we were all coming from 4 different states. Yet when the day finally came to hop on our flight and begin our 10 day adventure, life popped in to say a quick hello (my, what good timing you have) and shake up my soda can of carefully laid plans.
With the brakes out of commission on our aircraft (kind of important) and no other flights to Belize for the day, the plan had swerved way off course and we found ourselves stranded in Miami. (It is not lost on me that there are far worse places in the world one could find herself stranded.)
I reacted by freaking out just a little bit. Several frantic emails to our hotel and shuttle driver in Belize later, I finally realized this was not the end of the world. I was with 6 amazing women, in a beautiful place I’d always wanted to visit but still hadn’t despite living just a few hours away, and I was still on vacation. My original plan had attempted to explode in my face (and all over my travel attire), but only in order to make way for a new plan that could be just as fun. Shaken up soda can explosion crisis averted.
At 26, I’ve learned that I can plan all I want, but planning isn’t a guarantee that anything I want to happen will, in fact, happen. In our twenties, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be almost superhuman. Once you graduate from college, there seems to be a constant race to have a successful career, be financially secure, find a great partner and settle down, and a myriad of other things that seem near impossible to achieve simultaneously, let alone plan for.
The more and more I reflect and work out how I feel about where I’m at in life, the more I understand that tireless planning is often a futile effort. Life is so much more fun and exciting when you aren’t afraid to change course and throw your old plans out the window. Leaving some room to actually live can result in opportunities and adventure you never could have planned for.
So, you can tirelessly plan and try to make everything come together only to be disappointed when your life inevitably takes a new direction, or you can take a deep breath, relax and shake things up a little bit. Changing direction may just blow up in your face, but it can also lead you somewhere new and exciting, and that’s totally worth the tiny soda stain.